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Accettura v. Vacationland, Inc.

Supreme Court of Illinois

September 19, 2019

KIMBERLY ACCETTURA et al., Appellants,

          JUSTICE GARMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Chief Justice Karmeier and Justices Thomas, Kilbride, Burke, Theis, and Neville concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 Plaintiffs Kimberly Accettura and Adam Wozniak purchased a recreational vehicle (RV) from defendant Vacationland, Inc. When it leaked during a rainstorm, they brought it in for repair. When it leaked again, they brought it back. A little more than two weeks after they dropped it off the second time and without a timetable for when the vehicle would be repaired, they told the seller that they no longer wanted the RV and asked for their money back. At issue is whether plaintiffs properly revoked their acceptance without permitting defendant a reasonable opportunity to cure the defect.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On April 19, 2014, plaintiffs purchased a new 2014 Palomino trailer from defendant for $26,000.25. They took possession of the RV on April 25. That June, they discovered water leaking into the RV from the emergency exit window. They brought the RV back to defendant for repair, which defendant performed without charge.

         ¶ 4 In July 2014, plaintiffs took the RV to Michigan. During a rainstorm, the RV leaked extensively into the dinette area, damaging the walls and causing electrical failure. Plaintiffs towed the RV back to defendant for repair on July 14. Defendant was unable to repair the defect itself, so one of its employees told plaintiffs that it would have to send the RV to the manufacturer for repair. Defendant's employees could not estimate how long the manufacturer would take to repair the RV. Plaintiffs state that they called the manufacturer, which also would not give them a time estimate and referred them to defendant. On August 2, before the manufacturer picked up the RV, plaintiffs called defendant and verbally revoked acceptance of the RV. The manufacturer picked the RV up on or around August 4 and returned it on or around September 23. Defendant called plaintiffs on September 23 to inform them that the RV was repaired and that they could pick it up. Plaintiffs' attorney sent defendant a letter on September 28 confirming the earlier revocation of acceptance of the RV.

         ¶ 5 On October 29, 2014, plaintiffs filed a complaint in the circuit court of Kane County, seeking return of their purchase price and other damages under four theories of recovery: revocation of acceptance under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty-Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act (Magnuson-Moss Act) (15 U.S.C. § 2310(d) (2012)); breach of implied warranty of merchantability under the Magnuson-Moss Act (id.); revocation of acceptance and cancellation of contract under Illinois's adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) (810 ILCS 5/2-608(1)(b), 2-711(1) (West 2014)); and return of purchase price under section 2-711(1) of the UCC (id.). Defendant moved for summary judgment pursuant to section 2-1005 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-1005 (West 2016)), arguing that plaintiffs' failure to give it a reasonable opportunity to cure was fatal to their claims. The circuit court granted summary judgment to defendant on all four counts, finding that the record clearly showed that plaintiffs revoked acceptance on or before August 2, 2014, and did not give defendant a reasonable time to cure. The appellate court affirmed. On appeal to this court, plaintiffs only seek review of the revocation of acceptance claim under the UCC (810 ILCS 5/2-608(1)(b) (West 2014)). We allowed the National Association of Consumer Advocates and Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety to jointly file an amicus brief. Ill. S.Ct. R. 345 (eff. Sept. 20, 2010).

         ¶ 6 ANALYSIS

         ¶ 7 Although plaintiffs alleged several counts against defendant, the only issue on appeal to this court is whether plaintiffs could revoke acceptance of the RV under Illinois's adoption of the UCC (810 ILCS 5/1-101 et seq. (West 2014)). The statute at issue, adopted verbatim from the UCC, states:

"(1) The buyer may revoke his acceptance of a lot or commercial unit whose non-conformity substantially impairs its value to him if he has accepted it
(a) on the reasonable assumption that its non-conformity would be cured and it has not been seasonably cured; or
(b) without discovery of such non-conformity if his acceptance was reasonably induced either by the difficulty of discovery before acceptance or the seller's assurances." 810 ILCS 5/2-608(1) (West 2014).

See U.C.C. § 2-608(1) (Am. Law Inst. & Unif. Law Comm'n 1952).

         ¶ 8 On appeal to this court, defendant does not dispute that the defect, without repair, substantially impaired the RV's value to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs' expert opined that the defective unit was worth a mere 10% of its purchase price. The record does not show that defendant rebutted this opinion. Rather, defendant relied on its argument that ...

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