Debates over whether or not Amazon could or should be held liable for defective products sold through their platform have raged for more than a decade. In general, most manufacturers and retailers can be held liable if they sell a defective product that causes harm to a consumer. However, Amazon has long held that they are not responsible for faulty products sold through its platform. They have continuously said that they are simply a facilitator of transactions between buyers and sellers and have no liability for injuries if a product is faulty. That may be about to change.
What Is Going On With This Case Concerning Amazon?
In July of 2019, a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the United States found that Amazon can be held strictly liable for defective products sold by other parties through their online marketplace. This, the court found, could be true even though Amazon does not design or manufacture these products. The Third Circuit decision resulted in Amazon immediately filing a petition to have the case reheard by the entire Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and not just a three-judge panel. Their petition was granted, and the decision was vacated.
On February 20, 2020, the case was reheard by all 14 judges on the court. We are now awaiting their decision, but this will not likely be the end of the story regardless of how the judges rule. This case may very well end up being heard by the US Supreme Court.
This case matters for a variety of reasons. In particular, this matters because the 2019 decision was the first time that a US appeals court ruled that Amazon could be held strictly liable for defective products sold by third parties. This was in contrast to numerous other decisions in courts throughout the United States that have long held that Amazon cannot be held liable for these products.
If the three-judge panel decision is upheld, this will significantly increase Amazon’s exposure to product liability claims and would significantly alter how they conduct business. Not only would this affect Amazon, but the decision would also ripple through other major online retailers, including eBay, Wayfair, and more.
We Are Here To Help If You Are Injured By A Defective Product
If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury caused by a faulty product, whether that product is from Amazon or from your local retail store, you need to speak to attorneys at Colson Hicks Eidson as soon as possible. Our award-winning product liability team will conduct a full investigation into your case so we can secure the compensation you need. This can include coverage of all medical bills related to the injuries you sustain, coverage of your lost income if you cannot work, pain and suffering damages, and possibly punitive damages against a negligent company or manufacturer.