A number of current lawsuits have tried to carry Amazon liable as a vendor below state strict legal responsibility legal guidelines the place defective merchandise bought by third-party retailers on Amazon resulted in property harm or private damage. To date, the courts have discovered Amazon not liable as a vendor below relevant state regulation and below Part 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA).
Within the current case, Oberdorf v. Amazon.com (Dist. Ct. Mid. Dist. Penn of the USA), a lady was completely blinded by a defective retractable leash bought from a third-party service provider on Amazon. The vendor couldn’t be situated by the injured occasion to convey a authorized motion for damages.
The courtroom rejected Amazon’s argument that Amazon was not a “vendor” as a result of it didn’t take title or possession of the leash from the third-party service provider. The courtroom thought-about the next 4 components to evaluate whether or not Amazon qualifies as a vendor below Pennsylvania regulation and located that every of those components applies to Amazon:
- If Amazon is the one member of the advertising and marketing chain obtainable to the injured plaintiff for compensation;
- Whether or not imposing strict legal responsibility on Amazon serves as a security incentive;
- If Amazon is in a greater place than the buyer to forestall the circulation of faulty merchandise; is
- If Amazon can distribute the price of compensation for damage ensuing from defects by charging it in its enterprise.
The courtroom additionally discovered that “to the extent that Oberdorf’s negligence and strict legal responsibility are based mostly on Amazon’s position as an actor within the gross sales course of, they aren’t prohibited by the CDA.” Underneath Sec. 230 of the CDA, on-line platforms aren’t handled as publishers of third occasion content material and, due to this fact, can’t be held liable for such content material. Due to this fact, if the complaints are based mostly on the failure to publish enough product notices, this can be a perform of a writer and can be prohibited by the Board of Administrators.
The courtroom postponed the case for additional consideration by the district courtroom. It should be seen if Amazon will likely be held accountable for negligence or strict legal responsibility.
Backside line: These circumstances will proceed to look in opposition to e-commerce platforms. Whereas Amazon has no downside with defending prices, different smaller ecommerce platform websites ought to take precautions to attempt to keep away from these lawsuits by lowering involvement within the gross sales course of with a purpose to additional distance themselves from being thought-about a ” vendor “below relevant state negligence and strict legal responsibility legal guidelines.
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