James Schuster was a sole proprietor doing business as (d. b. a.) “Diversity Heating and Plumbing” (Diversity Heating). Diversity Heating was in the business of selling, installing, and servicing heating and plumbing systems. George Vernon and others (Vernon) owned a building that needed a new boiler. Vernon hired Diversity Heating to install a new boiler in the building. Diversity Heating installed the boiler and gave a warranty that the boiler would not crack for 10 years. Four years later, James Schuster died. On that date, James’s son, Jerry Schuster, inherited his father’s business and thereafter ran the business as a sole proprietorship d. b. a. “ Diversity Heating and Plumbing.” One year later, the boiler installed in Vernon’s building broke and could not be repaired. Vernon demanded that Jerry Schuster honor the warranty and replace the boiler. When Jerry Schuster refused to do so, Vernon had the boiler replaced at a cost of $ 8,203 and sued Jerry Schuster to recover this amount for breach of warranty. Jerry Schuster argued that he was a sole proprietor and as such he was not liable for the business obligations his father had incurred while operating his own sole proprietorship. Is Jerry Schuster liable for the warranty made by his father? Vernon v. Schuster, d/ b/ a/ Diversity Heating and Plumbing, 688 N. E. 2d 1172, 1997 Ill. Lexis 482 (Supreme Court of Illinois)
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