Monday, September 13, 2010

Help, My Floors Are...Magnetized!?!

This post is a summary brief of a case. Follow the link to the case to read more.

In Jones, v. Centex Homes, 10th Dist. Nos. 09AP-1032 and 09AP-1033, 2010-Ohio-4268, the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas affirmed grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant's Centex Homes ("Centex").  Appellants (Jones) entered into "Real Estate Sale Agreements" with Centex whereby Centex agreed to sell newly constructed single family homes to the Appellants. Each of the agreements included a limited home warranty.

Appellants alleged causes of action for breach of contract, breach of express and implied warranties, negligence, and failure to perform in a workman like manner.  In both complaints, the appellants alleged that "the metal floor members on the 2nd floor were magnetized," resulting in interference with televisions, telephones, and computers. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Centex finding that the appellants "agreed to waive any claims for property damage other than claims covered under the Limited Home Warranty" and the Warranty did not cover magnetized steel framing.

On appeal, appellants asserted: (1) the limited warranty provided in their contract failed its essential purpose; (2) a waiver of the implied duty to construct a home in a workmanlike manner is against public policy; (3) the language employed in the agreements is insufficient to waive appellants' limited warranties; and (4) the waiver of claims and limitations of remedies should not be enforced on grounds of unconscionability.

The Franklin Court of Common Please held that (1) Ohio law does not preclude a builder-vendor from offering an express limited home warranty while disclaiming warranties implied by law and that the essential purpose doctrine was not applicable to general contract law, only UCC; (2) a valid disclaimer of implied warranty is not against public policy; (3) the disclaimer provided in the contract was not insufficient or ambiguous as it was clearly worded and located on the cover of the warranty in bold print and italics; (4) the transaction was not unconscionable as the appellants were grown adults, there was not evidence to suggest the builder exerted undue pressure on them, and the limited warranty language claims were clearly worded and were conspicuous. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court was affirmed.