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Amazon Liable for Product Defects – New York Judge Rules

Last Updated December 15, 2020

Amazon Liable for Product Defects – New York Judge Rules

Amazon.com suffered a defeat in court on December 9th, 2020, when a New York judge ruled that Amazon is liable for products sold on their website.  Levin Simes Abrams are experienced amazon product defect attorneys, ready to assist anyone injured.

Gerald J. Neri ruled in Onondaga County Supreme Court that Amazon was attempting to have it both ways, be a seller of goods like a traditional store but remain above all the normal liability of a company that sells products to consumers. Judge Neri:

“Amazon seeks to have all the benefits of the traditional brick and mortar storefront without any of the responsibilities.”

The case involves a thermostat sold on Amazon in 2018. The device was a wireless thermostat installed in a New York home, just two weeks later it was alleged to have started a fire. State Farm, the insurance company who had to pay for the damages, is taking Amazon to court for the fire insurance costs to repair the damage to the home.

Is Amazon a Seller and Liable for Customers Product Injury?

Amazon argued in court it was not a New York seller, and therefore cannot be liable for defective products sold to New York consumers. It requested summary judgement, or a judgement in its favor prior to a trial. Amazon stated it was “on the periphery of the distribution chain” as it merely was the website the consumer went to purchase the item, was the person the consumer paid for the item, warehoused the item, and shipped the item to the consumer.

In response to the claim that hosting a website to sell an item, collecting payment, housing the inventory and handling the shipment was not sufficient to be a seller of a good, Judge Neri said:

“Amazon exercises sufficient control over the product to be considered among ‘retailers and distributors, (the thermostat is) physically on an Amazon shelf, while Amazon has disclaimed title, it certainly maintains possession of the subject product.”

Amazon Product Injury Lawyer

Levin Simes Abrams is a national law firm with decades of success on behalf of injured individuals. If you were injured by a product purchased on Amazon, we offer a free legal consultation and no fee or costs unless there is a recovery for you. Contact us at 415-426-3000, [email protected], or through our website.

Amazon Product Injury Referrals

Levin Simes Abrams is recognized as a leader in this field and often have cases referred to our firm.  The partners and attorneys at Levin Simes Abrams are here to learn about your case and your client, and stand ready with the trial experience needed to secure a verdict or settlement against corporations of any size.

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