No Warranty Breach in Lowe’s Paint-Fume Crash

     (CN) – A Virgina man who passed out and crashed his car after waterproofing paint spilled on him at a Lowe’s store cannot sue for breach of warranty because he didn’t actually buy the product, a federal judge ruled.
     Antwan Sutherlin was looking at a 5-gallon container of waterproofing paint at a Richmond, Va., Lowe’s Home Center store in 2012, when the lid popped off and the contents spilled on him.
     Lowe’s employees helped Sutherlin remove some of it from his clothes using mineral spirits.
     But as Sutherlin was driving home, he lost consciousness due to the fumes, and crashed his car – first into a construction barrier, then into a telephone pole.
     At the hospital, he was treated for hydrocarbon intoxication.
     Sutherlin claims he suffers short- and long-term memory loss, and other neurological problems as a result of the accident.
     A federal judge dismissed two of Sutherlin’s claims Tuesday – breach of express and implied warranties under Virginia law – because Sutherlin did not actually buy the product that harmed him.
     “Although Virginia law does recognize some common law warranties, this court can find no authority indicating that in the absence of any transactional chain linking the parties, the mere existence of a product provides a sufficient basis for imposing warranty-based liability on one who has not yet sold it. In this case, plaintiff fails to allege a transaction or other basis for imposing warranty liability under the common law; therefore, plaintiff fails to state a claim for breach of common law warranty, express or implied,” U.S. District Judge David Novak said.
     Sutherlin voluntarily dismissed his strict products liability claim after Lowe’s challenged it in court. His negligence and negligent failure to warn claims remain pending.

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