Legal Memorandum: An Implied Warranty of Merchantability Claim

Issue: What is the basis of an implied warranty of merchantability claim?

Area of Law: Personal Injury & Negligence, UCC & Secured Transactions
Keywords: Merchantability claim; Implied warranty; Claim for strict products liability
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: U.C.C. § 2-314
Date: 05/01/2000

There has been some discussion among the courts whether a “merchantability claim” under U.C.C. § 2-314 is better construed as a claim for strict products liability. 

The law implies a warranty by a manufacturer that places a product on the market that it is reasonably fit for the intended purposes for which such product is used.  If the product is not reasonably fit to be used for its ordinary purposes, the warranty is breached.  (See PJI 2:142.)  For a manufacturer to be liable for a claim of breach of implied warranty of merchantability, the plaintiff must establish that the product was not reasonably fit for the purposes for which it was intended (i.e. defective) and that the product was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury.  For purposes of U.C.C. § 2-314 “merchantability,” a product essentially must be of “average quality.”

U.C.C. § 2-314 provides that an implied warranty of merchantability may be modified as per § 2-316, which requires that a modification of the implied warranty of merchantability be conspicuously written and must specifically disclaim “merchantability.”


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