Monday, October 29, 2012
Lance Armstrong and Fitness for a Particular Purpose
Each year the authors of the Moot Problem for ICAM cook up perplexing problems On of my favorites this year is the claim by a buyer that goods were not fit for a particular purpose because they were produced by a firm associated with the use of child labor. Thus, the could not be sold for a profit. As far as we know, no children laid a hand on these particular shirts but buyers are up in arms nonetheless. Of course, there are many reasons an item may not be profitably sold that have little to do with a promise by the seller. So one has to look further than that and think about why they did not sell.
In some sense, does the fitness for a particular purpose warranty even apply to the signalling one does by wearing the item or the sense that one has done the "right thing." You might think about the Lance Armstrong situation. All those Livestrong shirts are the same as they were when you bought them. But, when you bought them you may have wanted to advertise your admiration for Lance. Or you were just happier with them because you like Lance. Are they now unfit for a particular purpose?
Of course, a little quirk is that they were perfectly fit when no one knew of the misdeeds. Are then unfit now simply because of new information?