Speculation not enough to prove breach in American Piping lawsuit

By Amanda Thomas | Apr 16, 2018

ST. LOUIS - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has affirmed the district court's decision to dismiss a complaint against American Piping Products Inc. for flawed steel tubing.

In an April 5 decision, the court held that Morgantown Machine & Hydraulics of Ohio Inc. and its parent corporation Swanson Industries Inc. failed to state a breach of warranty claim on which relief could be granted. In this case, the contract between the parties incorporated terms and conditions that disclaimed any implied warranties. The plaintiffs also didn't challenge the enforceability or validity of the contract.

Morgantown, which manufacturers hydraulic cylinders for installation in offshore oil rigs, requested a price quote for steel tubing using American Piping's website in June 2011. American Piping sent Morgantown a price quote that stated, "This quotation and all sales resulting from it, are subject to our Standard Terms & Conditions of Sale and available upon request." Morgantown purchased the tubing, which American Piping shipped in February 2012 for installation in China. 

The tubing malfunctioned after installation and Morgantown sued American Piping. American Piping moved to dismiss the claims based on the express disclaimer of warranties in the Terms & Conditions. The district court granted Piping's motion. 

Morgantown questioned whether the Terms & Conditions were in effect in 2011, but acknowledged it declined American Piping's invitation to obtain a copy. 

"Morgantown offers only speculation to support the notion that American Piping invited purchases to request nonexistent Terms & Conditions in August 2011 or that American Piping misrepresented the Terms & Conditions that were attached to the motion to dismiss," the court said in its opinion. 

The court also noted Morgantown didn't challenge the validity or enforceability of the express disclaimer. 

"Therefore, Morgantown fails to state a breach of warranty claim on which relief could be granted. The judgment of this court is affirmed," the court said.

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