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Amazon may be held liable for defective third party products on the platform, court rules



Amazon can be sued over third-party sales on the platform, a federal court decided today, setting a potentially harmful precedent for the company.

While Amazon sells goods itself, it also allows vendors to sell their products through the marketplace platform and takes a cut in the process. At the end of 2014, a woman named Heather Oberdorf ordered a dog collar from a Marketplace salesman, but it broke on a trip, sending the leiben flying and permanently dazzling her in one eye. The seller has not been found, but Oberdorf sued Amazon, accusing the company of negligence.

A district court in Pennsylvania found that Amazon could not sue because it was not "the seller" under the law and because it is protected by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides protection against platforms from acts of the people using them. platforms.

But Oberdorf appealed the decision, and today the appeal court largely benefited. In the decision, the appeal court said that Amazon could be held responsible for its role in the sales chain. The court also claimed that Amazon is protected from "speech" on the platform, but was not necessarily protected for the sale of goods in the real world. The court sent some of Oberdor's claims to a lower trial for further review.

As Reuters points out, two different appeal courts have found in the Amazon favor in similar cases, as other lower courts have. But any decision that bounces off Amazon's legal protection for the platform represents a potential threat to its business.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision.


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