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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues one Indiana opinion today, a reversal in part

In Anderson v. Guf Stream (ND Ind., MJ Nuechterlein), a 32-page opinion, Judge Williams writes:

Plaintiffs Jeff and Liz Anderson sued Gulf Stream, the manufacturer of their 2009 model year Tourmaster RV, claiming that the Tourmaster had numerous defects and that Gulf Stream misrepresented the size of the vehicle’s engine. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of Gulf Stream on all of the Andersons’ claims.

We conclude that the district court erred in dismissing the Andersons’ Indiana law claims for breach of express warranty and breach of implied warranty, and their federal claims under the Magnuson-Moss Act, on the ground that the Andersons did not give Gulf Stream a reasonable opportunity to cure. We find that the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the Andersons, supports their contention that they gave Gulf Stream a reasonable opportunity to cure.

We also find that there is enough evidence in the record to support the Andersons’ claim that Gulf Stream committed an “uncured” deceptive act under the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act in representing that the “2009” model Tourmaster featured a larger engine than the one the Andersons’ “2009” Tourmaster came with. Although the pertinent federal regulations are not a model of clarity, we conclude that the regulations did not permit Gulf Stream to designate the Andersons’ Tourmaster, which was completed during Gulf Stream’s 2008 production cycle and had the characteristics of a 2008 model year Tourmaster, as a “2009” Tourmaster. However, because there are disputed questions of fact surrounding what information Gulf Stream disclosed to the Andersons, neither party is entitled to summary judgment on this claim.

Finally, we conclude that it was proper for the district court to enter summary judgment in favor of Gulf Stream with respect to the Andersons’ claims for fraud and for the commission of an “incurable” deceptive act under Indiana law because the evidence does not support the inference that Gulf Stream acted with an intent to deceive.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 3, 2011 02:03 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions