Can Evidence of a Common Interest Defect In a Product Support Recovery on a Breach of Warranty Theory ?
In Anthony v. General Motors Corp. (1973) 33 Cal. App. 3d 699, 702, 704 109 Cal. Rptr. 254, the trial court ruled the plaintiffs' suit could not be maintained as a class action.
The issue in Anthony, as in the case before us, was whether breach of the defendant's warranty could be established solely by evidence of a common inherent defect in the product.
The Court of Appeal concluded the existence of a common inherent defect was a question of fact common to the class which, if established, would support recovery on a breach of warranty theory.
It was unnecessary to produce individualized evidence any plaintiff or class member had suffered wheel failure or personal injury or property damage as a result of wheel failure.
In reaching its decision, the court in Anthony explained:
"The gravamen of plaintiffs' case is the contention that all wheels of the type involved contain an inherent defect which may cause them to fail at some time, even if loaded within the limits of the defendant's representations . . . and even if maintained and driven with due care.
It is patent from the record before us that that issue is one which will require an elaborate and probably protracted trial.
It is exactly the sort of common issue for which class actions are designed.. . . If, . . . as we read the record, plaintiffs are correct that all of the wheels are inherently suspect, the recovery expressly sought herein repair/replacement of the wheels will not turn on the conduct of any individual purchaser."