Bookholt v. General Motors Corp.

Decision Date09 October 1959
Docket NumberNo. 20631,20631
Citation110 S.E.2d 642,215 Ga. 391
CourtGeorgia Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

The act of the General Assembly here attacked as unconstitutional (Ga.L.1957, p. 404, Code Ann. § 96-307) is not unconstitutional for any reason assigned.

This suit was brought to recover damages by an ultimate consumer against a manufacturer for breach of implied warranty under the provisions of Ga.L.1957, p. 404 (Code Ann. § 96-307), which provides: 'The manufacturer of any personal property sold as new property, either directly or through wholesale or retail dealers, or any other person, shall warrant the following to the ultimate consumer, who, however, must exercise caution when purchasing to detect defects, and provided there is no express covenant of warranty and no agreement to the contrary: 1. The article sold is merchantable and reasonably suited to the use intended. 2. The manufacturer knows of no latent defects undisclosed.'

This act of the General Assembly was attacked as unconstitutional as violating the State and Federal Constitutions for stated reasons. The motion to dismiss was sustained, and the exception here is to that judgment.

Gambrell, Harlan, Russell, Moye & Richardson, Terry P. McKenna, Allison Wade, Atlanta, for plaintiff in error.

Spalding, Sibley, Troutman, Meadow & Smith, Harry C. Howard, Jr., Atlanta, for defendant in error.

WYATT, Presiding Justice.

1. The only question argued in this court is the constitutionality of the act above quoted. We will confine our decision to this question.

The statute in question is attacked as unconstitutional because 'The classification of manufacturers apart from other remote sellers has no reasonable relation to the purpose of the statute, and therefore denies such manufacturers the equal protection of the laws.' There is no merit in this contention. The act applies alike to all manufacturers of personal property, and it is reasonable to classify manufacturers apart from other remote sellers, such as wholesalers, for the purpose of this legislation. It is a reasonable classification because the manufacturer has control over the materials that go into the product, the productions methods employed, the labor and workmanship used in the manufacture of the product, the quality control procedures, and all other factors which go into the production of merchandise intended for sale to the public which is entirely lacking in other remote sellers. This classification complies fully with the rules relative to classification referred to in Geele v. State, 202 Ga. 381, 43 S.E.2d 254, 172 A.L.R. 196 and Ledger-Enquirer Co. v. Brown, 213 Ga. 538, 100 S.E.2d 166. The act is not unconstitutional upon this ground.

2. It is further contended that 'The statute interferes with liberty of contract, thereby depriving a manufacturer of property without due process of law, for it

creates an involuntary contractual relationship between the manufacturer and the consumer.' We recognize at the outset the many cases cited by the defendant in error to the effect that the right to contract or not to contract is a property right protected by the due-process clauses of the State and Federal Constitutions, and if it appeared that the act in question unlawfully abridged this right, we would, of course, find that it offended due process. The first difficulty we have with this line of reasoning is whether the implied warranty created by the act here involved is contractual at all. A careful study of this question has convinced us that it is not.

In Colt Co. v. Bridges, 162 Ga. 154, 132 S.E. 889, 891, a suit in which an implied warranty was relied upon, this court said: 'But it is insisted that the written contract provides that it 'covers all the agreements between the purchaser and the company,' and that the contract so made cannot be altered or modified except by agreement in writing between the parties, and that to permit the buyer to set up an implied warranty would add to the contract another agreement which is expressly prohibited by the above provision of the contract of sale. This contention is not sound. A warranty may be either express or implied. The former is created by the statement of the seller. The law creates the implied warranty. If the former is broad enough to exclude the latter, then it precludes the buyer from setting up the implied warranty of law. If it is not extensive enough for that purpose, the implied warranty of the law exists. The latter does not arise from the contract of the parties. It is the...

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6 cases
  • Laibe Corp. v. Gen. Pump & Well, Inc.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • February 4, 2013
    ...trial court held that the sales contract between the parties did not apply because, pursuant to our Supreme Court's decision in Bookholt v. General Motors Corp.,3 General's claims arose by creation of law and not from the contract. Further, the trial court held that even if the contract app......
  • Brooks v. Eastern Air Lines, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Georgia
    • April 13, 1966
    ...rule must rest his suit in tort. A party in such privity may apparently proceed either in tort or contract. Bookholt v. General Motors Corp., 215 Ga. 391, 110 S.E.2d 642, 1959; Wilkinson v. Rich's Inc., 77 Ga.App. 239(2), 408 S.E.2d 552, 1948; Revlon, Inc. v. Murdock, 103 Ga. App. 842, 120 ......
  • Wood v. Hub Motor Co.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • June 30, 1964 places upon a party as a result of some transaction entered into'; it is not a contractual obligation. Bookholt v. General Motors Corp., 215 Ga. 391, 394, 110 S.E.2d 642, 644. Accord: Bond & Maxwell v. Perrin, 145 Ga. 200, 209, 88 S.E. 954; Colt Co. v. Bridges, 162 Ga. 154, 158, 132 S.E......
  • Allen v. Withrow
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • October 9, 1959
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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