Uniform Statutory Source: None.
Changes: This section is modeled on section 9-318, the Restatement (Second) of Contracts sections 302-315 (1981), and leasing practices. See Earman Oil Co. v. Burroughs Corp., 625 F.2d 1291, 1296-97 (5th Cir. 1980).
1. The function performed by the lessor in a finance lease is extremely limited. Section 2A-103(1)(g). The lessee looks to the supplier of the goods for warranties and the like or, in some cases as to warranties, to the manufacturer if a warranty made by that person is passed on. That expectation is reflected in subsection (1), which is self-executing. As a matter of policy, the operation of this provision may not be excluded, modified, or limited; however, an exclusion, modification, or limitation of any term of the supply contract or warranty, including any with respect to rights and remedies, and any defense or claim such as a statute of limitations, effective against the lessor as the acquiring party under the supply contract, is also effective against the lessee as the beneficiary designated under this provision. For example, the supplier is not precluded from excluding or modifying an express or implied warranty under a supply contract. Sections 2-312(2) and 2-316, or section 2A-214. Further, the supplier is not precluded from limiting the rights and remedies of the lessor and from liquidating damages. Sections 2-718 and 2-719 or sections 2A-503 and 2A-504. If the supply contract excludes or modifies warranties, limits remedies, or liquidates damages with respect to the lessor, such provisions are enforceable against the lessee as beneficiary. Thus, only selective discrimination against the beneficiaries designated under this section is precluded, i.e., exclusion of the supplier's liability to the lessee with respect to warranties made to the lessor. This section does not affect the development of other law with respect to products liability.
2. Enforcement of this benefit is by action. Sections 1-106(2) and 2A-103(4).
3. The benefit extended by these provisions is not without a price, as this article also provides in the case of a finance lease that is not a consumer lease that the lessee's promises to the lessor under the lease contract become irrevocable and independent upon the lessee's acceptance of the goods. Section 2A-407.
4. Subsection (2) limits the effect of subsection (1) on the supplier and the lessor by preserving, notwithstanding the transfer of the benefits of the supply contract to the lessee, all of the supplier's and the lessor's rights and obligations with respect to each other and others; it further absolves the lessee of any duties with respect to the supply contract that might have been inferred from the extension of the benefits thereof.
5. Subsections (2) and (3) also deal with difficult issues related to modification or rescission of the supply contract. Subsection (2) states a rule that determines the impact of the statutory extension of benefit contained in subsection (1) upon the relationship of the parties to the supply contract and, in a limited respect, upon the lessee. This statutory extension of benefit, like that contained in sections 2-318 and 2A-216, is not a modification of the supply contract by the parties. Thus, subsection (3) states the rules that apply to a modification or rescission of the supply contract by the parties. Subsection (3) provides that a modification or rescission is not effective between the supplier and the lessee if, before the modification or rescission occurs, the supplier received notice that the lessee has entered into the finance lease. On the other hand, if the modification or rescission is effective, then to the extent of the modification or rescission of the benefit or warranty, the lessor by statutory dictate assumes an obligation to provide to the lessee that which the lessee would otherwise lose. For example, assume a reduction in an express warranty from four years to one year. No prejudice to the lessee may occur if the goods perform as agreed. If, however, there is a breach of the express warranty after one year and before four years pass, the lessor is liable. A remedy for any prejudice to the lessee because of the bifurcation of the lessee's recourse resulting from the action of the supplier and the lessor is left to resolution by the courts based on the facts of each case.
6. Subsection (4) makes it clear that the rights granted to the lessee by this section do not displace any rights the lessee otherwise may have against the supplier.
Sections 2A-103(1)(g), 2A-407, and 9-318.
Definitional Cross References:
"Action". Section 1-201(1).
"Finance lease". Section 2A-103(1)(g).
"Leasehold interest". Section 2A-103(1)(m).
"Lessee". Section 2A-103(1)(n).
"Lessor". Section 2A-103(1)(p).
"Notice". Section 1-201(25).
"Party". Section 1-201(29).
"Rights". Section 1-201(36).
"Supplier". Section 2A-103(1)(x).
"Supply contract". Section 2A-103(1)(y).
"Term". Section 1-201(42).