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Federal appeals court says Amazon is liable for items sold by third parties

Posted at 1:43 PM, Jul 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-05 18:26:43-04

One of the nation's biggest companies could now be subject to a mountain of future lawsuits.

On July 3, a federal appeals court filed an opinion stating that Amazon can indeed be held liable for defective products sold by third-party vendors on its platform. This opinion stems from the case Oberdorf v. Amazon.

In that case, Heather Oberdorf was left permanently blind in one eye after being struck by a retractable leash when her dog collar, which she purchased from Amazon via a third-party seller, broke. She sued Amazon, claiming that the company should be liable for the products sold on its site.

In the past, Amazon has been able to escape liability in cases involving third-party vendors, but this new opinion could open up the floodgates on lawsuits involving third-party Amazon sellers.

According to a letter to company shareholders from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, 58% of merchandise sold in 2018 came from third-party vendors.