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Joseph and Mary Smith vs. Cauchemar and Sons Case


When a negligent surveyor advises a client that the property that the latter was considering buying would be significantly affected by noise from airplanes, the client is entitled to damages because this translates to a breach of contract (Cunningham, 1954). This negligence interferes with the right of the client to enjoy the property because this right is violated by the aircraft noise (Edgeworth, 1995). The case at hand pits Joseph and Mary Smith versus Cauchemar and sons, the surveyors who were employed to investigate whether the house the former were considering buying in a suburban location not so far away from Manchester airport would be affected by aircraft noise. The latter did not wish to on a flight path. The surveyor advised their client that it was highly unlikely that the property would be significantly affected by noise coming from the aircrafts and the clients proceeded to buy the property and also spent some money to refurbish and modernize the property. However, after moving in, they discovered that they had been misadvised by the surveyors because the house was actually located near a signal beacon where aircrafts would hover around as they waited for clearance. This noise was a source of stress and discomfort for the Smiths and family. The Smiths have a case against the surveyors who misadvised them.

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To start with, had the Smiths known about the aircraft noise, they would not have purchased the facility which means that the Smiths could lodge a claim for being deprived of their contractual benefits or lodge a claim for losses arising from a breach of contract as it happened in another similar case titled Watts vs. Morrow (Dess, 2005). Secondly the cause of the inconvenience affects the sensory elements of the plaintiffs which creates a sense of discomfort and according to property laws, such damages which are subject to the remoteness rules are recoverable unlike in a case where the claim is just a disappointment due to breach of contractual obligations (Duncan, 2000). There are specific provisions in the property laws that relate to the peacefulness of a property in respect to noise coming from airplanes and this renders this case extra ordinary. The main thing is that the purpose of the contractor between the Smiths and the surveyors was to provide a peace of mind for the former and since the advice that the surveyors gave did not provide that peace of mind, then the surveyors are liable because the property they recommended ended up causing distress.

However, before making conclusions against the surveyors, it is important to clear some complications in this case. It is not stated whether the signal beacon near the house was established after or before then surveyors had made their recommendations to the clients, Joseph and Mary Smith. If the signal beacon was established after the surveyors had already done their work, then the surveyors are not liable for the damages accrued by their clients. However, if the signal beacon was existent before the surveyors were engaged by their clients to carry out investigations on whether the aircraft noise would affect the property they were considering buying, then the surveyors are legally liable for acting negligently which means that they are supposed to compensate their client for the inconveniences caused by their professional negligence (Estelle, 2000). The Smiths can therefore lodge a legal complaint against the negligent surveyors whose unprofessional advice made them buy an inconveniencing property.

The second issue affecting the Smiths has to do with warranty. Consumer products are often given warranties, and in most countries there are acts in the laws that make warranties on these products enforceable in order to provide better means of protecting consumers (Cohen, 1954). The Smiths acquire a 42 inch television from their grandmother who is moving into a smaller flat that cannot accommodate such a big gadget. After acquiring the television, it develops a fault that’s starts a small fire that damages their new carpet. The big question that arises in this situation is whether the manufacturers of the television or the company that sold the gadget are legally liable for the damages caused by the television when it developed a fault. To start with, ACME electronics, the company that sold this television to their grandmother had given a 12 month warranty to the product meaning that if the television is plagued by any defect or fault, the sellers can be held liable and have the obligation to either fix the defect, replace the item if the defect or fault cannot be easily repaired or compensate the consumer for any damages arising from a fault in the product sold (Friedman, 2005). There are two situations in this case that favor the sellers of this gadget, which means that they cannot be held liable for the damages caused by the television. To start with, the fault occurred 15 months after the sale of the television.

The warranty that the sellers had given the consumer covered a period of one year or 12 months. This means that the fault occurred outside the warranty period meaning that the sellers of the product cannot compensate the Smiths for the damages caused by the fault in the television they sold to their grandmother. Had the fault occurred within the warranty period, then there would have been a case against ACME electronics, the sellers of the television. The second situation that favors the sellers of the television, ACME electronics is the fact that the fault did not affect the person who was given the warranty. There is no contractual obligation between the Smiths and ACME electronics because ACME did not sell anything to the Smiths. There is a contract between the sellers and Smiths Grandmother which means that the4 sellers would only be liable if a fault or a defect affects the first party who bought the television directly from them. According to the warranty laws, the transfer of a product that is under a warranty from one party to another does not transfer the contractual obligation meaning that the third party cannot benefit from the warranty given on a consumer product by a seller or a manufacturer (Bush, 19995). In this case, the transfer of the television from the grandmother to the Smiths does not transfer the warranty that the ACME electronics had issued on the product meaning that the sellers are not liable if the televisions develops faults and defects which end up causing damages to a third party.


This situation, supported by the fact that the damages had occurred outside the warranty period make it hard for Joseph and Mary smith to pursue for ACME electronics, the sellers of the television for damages caused by a fault in the television. This means that it would not be advisable for the Smiths to lodge a legal complaint against ACME electronics because the odds are heavily against them.

List of References

Bush, C. (1995). Uniform business law: with business forms and illustrative cases. Chicago: The H. M. Rowe.

Cohen, F. (1954). Dialogue on Private Property. Sydney: Rutgers.

Cunningham, R.A. (1984). The Law of Property.Sydney: Heinemann.

Dess, G. (2006). Strategic Management: Text & Cases . Irwin: McGraw-Hill.

Duncan, B. (2000). Consumer protection laws. London: Chandler House.

Estelle, M. (2000). Demystifying Competitive Intelligence. Oxford: OUP.

Edgeworth, B. et al, (2004). Property Law: Cases and Materials. Canberra: Butterworth.

Friedman, T (2005). The World is flat. Friedman.MA: Giroux.


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