Product Liability

Amazon Could Be Liable for Hoverboard Injury

Under New Jersey product liability law, Inc. is a “seller”  and is potentially liable for an injury a child sustained by a hoverboard sold through its marketplace. The District of New Jersey ruled this on August 26, 2019. The federal district court is the first to follow the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s decision in Oberdorf v. Inc., which held that the e-commerce giant could be liable under Pennsylvania law for injuries caused by items sold through the Amazon marketplace.

Courts “are recognizing what nearly every consumer already understands—Amazon controls the marketplace and should be treated like any other retailer,” plaintiffs’ attorney said.

The New Jersey Product Liability Act imposes liability on both manufacturers and sellers for defects in manufacturing, design, and warnings, according to the court. The term “product seller” is defined broadly, it said. But there’s an exception for “brokers,” and Amazon argued it was one.

The case is Papataros v., Inc., D.N.J., No. 2:17-cv-09836, 8/26/19.

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