Federal Court Rules Amazon Can Be Sued Over Defective Products From Third-Party Vendors

A picture shows the Amazon logo at the entrance area of the Amazon logistics centre in Lauwin-Planque, northern France, on March 4, 2019. (Credit: DENIS CHARLET / AFP/Getty Images)

A picture shows the Amazon logo at the entrance area of the Amazon logistics centre in Lauwin-Planque, northern France, on March 4, 2019. (Credit: DENIS CHARLET / AFP/Getty Images)

A federal appeals court has ruled that Amazon can be sued over a defective product sold by one of its third-party vendors.

A Pennsylvania woman sued after a retractable dog leash she bought online snapped and hit her four years ago, leaving her permanently blind in one eye.

In a 2-1 decision released last week, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said Amazon can be classified as a seller in part because it doesn’t allow customers to communicate directly with third-party vendors.

The court also said a 1990s federal law governing the publishing of third-party content doesn’t shield Amazon from liability.

The dissenting judge called it an “uncharted area of law” and noted that numerous rulings in other states have barred consumers from suing Amazon for liability.

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