Questions 1 This modest case is possibly more important than it looks, in that it goes some way to tackling a problem exposed in the decision of Joseph Constantine SS Ltd v Imperial Smelting Corp.n Why could the owners of the motor launch not plead frustration? Could frustration be an effective defence in situations where a consumer product explodes for some unexplained reason? 2 Would the owner of the motor launch be entitled to the hire fee up to the moment the boat sank? 3 Has this decision been modified by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982? 4 Could the defendants have raised the defence of contributory negligence? 5 Does reasoning by analogy play an important role in Lewis J’s decision?
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McNair J:… The next question is whether the defendant was in breach of the implied condition of reasonable fitness and merchantability under s 14…of the Sale of Goods Act 1893. I have already stated that the evidence satisfies me that if pork infested with trichinella is subjected to a temperature of 131 °F, or on a more conservative estimate 137 °F, the trichinella is killed and the pork is innocuous. I am also satisfied on the evidence called by the defendant that it is common knowledge among the general public, as distinct from experts in nutrition and dietectics, that pork should be cooked substantially longer than other meat, given the same temperature, and that the proper way to cook pork is to cook it until it is white. A well qualified witness called by the defendant told me that she had consulted 40 or 50 cookery books on the subject and that they were all to the same effect. She had also, by way of reinforcing her view, asked a number of housewives of humble station as to their views, and they had unanimously formed the view which she had formed.