WV Supreme Court Clarifies Two Consumer Protection Act Issues
Within the past few weeks, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals issued two opinions which clarified two provisions of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act ("WVCCPA"), West Virginia Code Chapter 46A, Article 6.
What do the changes mean to you?
- A claim brought under subsection 106(a) must include proof that the consumer relied upon the alleged unlawful conduct in purchasing the product at issue. The Court stated that "[p]rescription drug cases are not the type of private causes of action contemplated under the terms and purposes of the WVCCPA because the consumer cannot and does not decide what product to purchase." Importantly however, the requirement of "reliance" is not limited to prescription drug cases. White v. Wyeth, (W. Va. December 17, 2010).
- Answering a certified question, a slim majority of the Supreme Court confirmed that an express warranty for repair or replacement of a product can be limited to the original purchaser. The key Syllabus Point in the McMahan case reads "W. Va. Code § 46 A-6-108(a) does not apply to suits for breach of a limited warranty by subsequent purchasers where the limited express warranty involved specifically limits its availability to original purchasers." The Court ended confusion which had existed since its 1975 decision in a product liability case, confirming that the 1975 holding applied only to product liability claims. McMahon v. Advance Stores Company, Inc., (W. Va. November 24, 2010).
Should you have questions concerning the law of product warranties or claims brought under the WVCCPA, or if you would like to receive a more in-depth review of these rulings, please contact us.