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Johnson v. Road Ready Used Cars, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 22, 2016

MICHAEL JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
ROAD READY USED CARS, INC., RONALD SARACINO, and GATEWAY ONE LENDING & FINANCE, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE

          WARREN W. EGINTON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff has filed a motion in limine seeking to preclude (1) evidence or argument that the vehicle at issue was sold “as is, ” (2) evidence or argument that the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles approved defendants' contract form, and (3) reference to attorney's fees. Plaintiff also requests that the Court rather than the jury determine common law punitive damages. For the following reasons, plaintiff's motion will be granted in full.

         Familiarity with the factual background of this case is presumed.

         Disclaimer of the Implied Warranty of Merchantability through “as is” Sale

         “The warranty of merchantability is the broadest and most important warranty in the Uniform Commercial Code. A warranty of merchantability is implied in any sale of goods by a merchant seller; the statutory standards for merchantability include, under s 42a-2-314(2)(c), that the goods be fit for the ordinary purposes for which such goods are used.” Schenck v. Pelkey, 176 Conn. 245, 253-54 (1978).

         A used motor vehicle dealer may disclaim implied warranties pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 42-224, which provides:

         “As is” sales. Disclaimer

(a) A used motor vehicle may be sold “as is” by a dealer only if its cash purchase price is less than three thousand dollars or if such used motor vehicle is seven years of age or older, which age shall be calculated from the first day in January of the designated model year of such vehicle.
(b) No “as is” disclaimer by a dealer shall be enforceable unless all of the following conditions are met:
(1) A disclaimer shall appear on the front page of the contract of sale, which shall read as follows:
“AS IS”
THIS VEHICLE IS SOLD “AS IS”. THIS MEANS THAT YOU WILL LOSE YOUR IMPLIED WARRANTIES. YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY FOR ANY REPAIRS NEEDED AFTER SALE.
IF WE HAVE MADE ANY PROMISES TO YOU, THE LAW SAYS WE MUST KEEP THEM, EVEN IF WE SELL ...

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