California Court of Appeal: Amazon Can Be Liable for Virtual Marketplace Product
August 17, 2020
In a precedent-setting ruling, the San Diego-based Court of Appeal
Fourth District, Division One ruled that Amazon can be held liable for
defective products sold on its virtual marketplace – like other
retailers. This ruling is the first of its kind in the nation and the
only published ruling holding Amazon liable in this situation.
Following oral arguments on August 11, 2020, the Court of Appeal ruled
that Amazon should be treated like other retailers – and be subject to
California’s strict product liability laws.
Diego-based law firm CaseyGerry represents the plaintiff Angela Bolger –
who was seriously injured in a laptop battery fire – in this closely
watched landmark case. Bolger purchased a Lenoge Technology HK Ltd.
replacement laptop battery sold by third party vendor, E-Life. The
battery later caught fire when she was on the computer, causing
life-altering third-degree burns.
“It is impossible to overstate the magnitude of this ruling,” CaseyGerry
partner Jeremy Robinson, who argued the case, said. “Consumers across
the nation will feel the impact of this.” Robinson was assisted on the
appeal by CaseyGerry partner Thomas Luneau and associate Jillian Hayes.
In 2019, a lower court ruled in Amazon’s favor, stating the company was
not covered under product liability laws. Bolger appealed the ruling,
and this decision is the outcome of that appeal. “This case moves
product liability law into the twenty-first century,” Robinson added.