Bayliner v. Marine Corp. v. Crow

509 S.E.2d 499 (1999)


Crow (P) was invited by a sales rep for Tidewater Yacht Agency to ride on a new model sport fishing boat. The boat was manufactured by Bayliner (D). P was interested specifically in the speed of the boat. P was given copies of the prop matrixes as these listed the maximum speed for each model of the boat. The boat did have a speed of 30 mph with a 20 x 19 propeller. The boat that P purchased had a 20 x 17 propeller. There was a disclaimer on the prop matrixes that it was intended for comparative purposes only as it could not account for weather conditions and other variables and that all testing had been done at sea level with 600-pound load factors. The purchase price of the boat was $120,000, which included a lot of extras installed by Tidewater. The total extra weight of the added equipment was 2,000 pounds. When P actually got the boat in the water, he found that the maximum speed was only 13 mph. Numerous repairs and adjustments were made in an attempt to increase the speed. The best speed was only 17 mph. A representative of D wrote a letter to P that stated the performance representations made at the time of sale were incorrect and that the maximum performance at the time of purchase would only be 23-25 mph. P sued. At trial, there was substantial evidence that the speed of the boat was critical in offshore sport fishing. P testified that because of the boat’s slow speed, he could not use it and he had no other use for it and that had he known the maximum speed he would not have purchased it. He did admit that he had registered 850 hours of use from 1989-1994 and that a typical boat in Virginia would register about 150 hours per year. P got judgment on the breach of express warranty and breach of implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. P got $135,000 in damages. D appealed.