Gionis v. Russo's Marine Mart Inc.
A court can award damages for breach of warranty that will place the plaintiff in the same position that the plaintiff would have enjoyed, if the property had been as warranted. In 2007, the plaintiffs purchased a boat for $400,000 that defendant Russo's Marine Mart had used on a television show, "On the Hook." The plaintiffs received a $100,000 credit for their old boat, "Egg Harbor." In 2009, they were informed that there were cracks on the keel and the hull. An investigator discovered that in 2005 the host of "On the Hook" allegedly had run the boat aground on a rock ledge. The plaintiffs sued Russo's, alleging it breached a warranty, failed to disclose the accident, and violated CUTPA, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. Russo's denied it possessed the duty to disclose. The plaintiffs established that Russo's promised them a five-year structural warranty for defects in materials and workmanship, and that their timely claim for damages was rejected, because the warranty did not cover damage sustained in an accident. Russo's did not provide the warranty promised and it knew, or should have known, that the warranty was not available. Absent a valid disclaimer, a dealer is responsible to provide a manufacturer's warranty it promises to a buyer. The court computed the loss from the breach of the warranty as the costs of repairs, which was $15,000. On the plaintiffs' intentional and negligent misrepresentation counts, the court found that the plaintiffs failed to prove Russo's misrepresented that the boat was a "new demo." This description was accurate, because a demonstrator boat is not new, and the boat did qualify as a "new demo." The plaintiffs, who purchased a used boat at a discounted price, without arranging an inspection prior to purchase, also failed to prove that the failure to disclose the accident constituted an unfair or deceptive trade practice under CUTPA. The boat's alleged defects were mostly cosmetic, and the defendant did not possess a legal duty to disclose. "[F]ailure to disclose what one is not required to disclose," wrote the court, "does not violate public policy or CUTPA."