Hub Motor Co. v. Zurawski, 61019

Decision Date23 February 1981
Docket NumberNo. 61019,61019
Parties, 31 UCC Rep.Serv. 927 HUB MOTOR COMPANY et al. v. ZURAWSKI.
CourtGeorgia Court of Appeals

Donald E. O'Brien, Atlanta, for appellants.

T. Jackson Bedford, Jr., Atlanta, for appellee.

SOGNIER, Judge.

Patricia A. Zurawski purchased a new 1974 automobile from Hub Motor Company on February 21, 1975. After repeated difficulties with the brakes, Zurawski returned the vehicle to Hub on May 23, 1975, again claiming difficulty with the brakes, and revoked her contract of purchase.

While at the Hub service department Zurawski, a city police officer in uniform, got involved in an argument with the service personnel and called her fellow police officers for assistance as witnesses to the argument. Two other police cars appeared at the scene. Subsequently, all left the Hub premises.

Defendant Dickerson, as business manager and vice president of Hub, wrote the city police commissioner on June 6, 1975 about Zurawski's conduct on Hub's premises and enclosed three statements obtained from Hub employees. One of the statements complained of Zurawski's "abusive language" and about the call to her fellow officers. Another complained of Zurawski's "cursing and using abusive language which you never hear an Officer do" ... "This woman officer running around cursing and screaming in full uniform, gun and handcuffs ..." The third said "I have lived in the Atlanta area all my life. I have never seen a person conduct themselves in this manner, especially if they have a job similar to Miss Zurawski."

The Bureau of Police services conducted an evidentiary hearing and found Zurawski in violation of two rules. "Using profane or insolent language to a citizen" and "causing unauthorized emergency call to be dispatched." Zurawski was suspended for three days, but on appeal, the suspension was revoked. Zurawski resigned from the police service on September 1, 1977, giving her reason as personal.

Zurawski sued Hub and Dickerson in several counts to recover her purchase money following revocation of the sales contract, consequential damages, costs and attorney fees because of Hub's bad faith and stubborn litigiousness. Zurawski also alleged libel, slander and defamation of her professional reputation necessitating her resignation, and asked for general damages, punitive damages and attorney fees.

The jury awarded Zurawski $8,902.90 on Count 1, pertaining to recovery of the cost of the automobile; this amount apparently included attorney fees. She was also awarded general damages and $25,000 punitive damages on Count 2, pertaining to libel. Hub and Dickerson appeal.

1. Appellants' enumerations of error 1 through 4, 7 and 8 relate to the sufficiency of the evidence and submission of the revocation question to the jury when Hub had limited its warranty to repair or replacement of defective parts. Code Ann. § 109A-2-608 provides that a buyer "may revoke his acceptance of a lot or commercial unit whose nonconformity substantially impairs its value to him if he has accepted it ... within a reasonable time" after discovery of the defects. Revocation under Code Ann. § 109A-2-608 is an available remedy even where the seller has attempted to limit its warranties. Jacobs v. Metro Chrysler-Plymouth, 125 Ga.App. 462, 188 S.E.2d 250 (1972). There is ample evidence of Zurawski's continued difficulties with the car brakes, Hub's failure to repair, and revocation. The question of substantial impairment sufficient to authorize revocation is for the jury. Ford Motor Co. v. Gunn, 123 Ga.App. 550, 551, 181 S.E.2d 694 (1971). A jury issue is also presented regarding a reasonable time allowed a seller to comply with the warranty provision of a sales contract. Trailmobile Div. of Pullman Inc. v. Jones, 118 Ga.App. 472, 474, 164 S.E.2d 346 (1968). Where no error is found, this court will not interfere with a verdict supported by some evidence. Thompson v. Hill, 143 Ga.App. 272, 276, 238 S.E.2d 271 (1977). We find no error in these enumerations.

2. In enumerations of error 5 and 6 appellants contend the trial court erred by admitting testimony of an expert based upon facts not in evidence. These enumerations are without merit. All of the material facts used by the expert in arriving at his opinion were either in evidence or admitted later. National Trailer...

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