Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co. (1965)

Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co.
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, 1965
350 F.2d 445.

Facts: A number of defendants, including Williams, filed suit against Walker-Thomas Furniture Co. claiming that contracts they signed for the purchase of furniture during the period 1957 – 1962 were unconscionable.  The contracts stated that any debt incurred at the time of purchase of each item was secured by the right to repossess all the items previously purchased by the same purchaser, and each new item purchased automatically became subject to a security interest arising out of the previous dealings.

Issue: May a court refuse to enforce a contract which it finds to be unconscionable at the time it was made.

Holding: Yes.

Decision/Analysis: The court noted that Congress had recently enacted the Uniform Commercial Code, which specifically provided that the court may refuse to enforce a contract which it finds to be unconscionable at the time it was made.  Noting the absence of prior authority, the court considered adoption of §2-302 persuasive authority.  Accordingly, the court held that the element of unconscionability was present at the time these agreements were signed and that they should not be enforced.

Previous post:

Next post: