The Indiana Court of Appeals found that a St. Joseph Superior judge applied the correct legal standard in determining that a company breached a contract with a couple that purchased a wind turbine that failed to live up to the company’s claims.
Roger and Patricia Finney sued Wind Wire LLC in August 2010 alleging, among other things, breach of contract, breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and fraud. The Finneys received a brochure from Wind Wire in the mail that touted the benefits of installing a wind turbine. It claimed that a person can save $160 a month on electric bills and homeowners will receive substantial refund on taxes.
When a representative came to talk to the Finneys, he did not clarify the brochure and claimed that the company providing their electric service would buy the excess energy produced by the Finneys’ turbine. They purchased one, but found no energy savings. In fact, it cost them more money on electricity as the turbine used power even when not running.
Judge Jenny Pitts Manier found Wind Wire fraudulently induced the couple to enter into the contract by misrepresenting its experience and expertise. Manier awarded the Finneys a total judgment of $54,893, which included attorney fees and treble damages.
Wind Wire tried to rely on its integration clause in the contract, which disclaimed reliance on any prior representations. In Wind Wire, LLC v. Roger Finney and Patricia Finney, 71A03-1202-PL-78, the COA found Manier did not apply the wrong legal standard, citing Circle Ctr. Dev. Co. v. Y/G Ind., L.P., N.E.2d 176, 179 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002).