CaseyGerry attorneys were at the forefront of the recent California Court of Appeals’ landmark ruling in Bolger vs. Amazon, a product liability case against the online marketplace. Our attorneys represented the injured plaintiff in pursuing a personal injury claim against the online giant for damages caused by a defective product purchased from a third-party seller on Amazon’s platform. The appellate court ruling is a win for our client and for all other California residents who purchase online consumer products.
In a regular personal injury claim, plaintiffs must prove that the defendant’s negligent, reckless, or otherwise wrongful conduct caused the accident and resulting injuries. However, proving a strict liability claim is easier because injured plaintiffs only need to show that the product was defective to succeed in a claim against the defendant.
Unlike other personal injury claims, plaintiffs do not have to prove that the defendant was negligent in strict liability claims. These laws benefit consumers who would not generally have the resources to identify and prove the source of the negligence that led to the product’s defects.
Strict liability was at the heart of our client’s product liability claim against Amazon. Our client suffered significant injuries due to a defective laptop battery purchased from a third-party seller that was ‘fulfilled by Amazon.’ As part of its defense, Amazon maintained that it was not liable for the injuries because Amazon did not own or sell the product. Amazon also argued that they were not subject to California’s strict liability law. If the court held that strict liability laws were not applicable, the plaintiff would be required to prove that Amazon’s negligence caused her injuries.
As mentioned above, proving Amazon’s liability under a theory of negligence is more difficult (and likely cost-prohibitive for most injured consumers) than proving a strict liability claim. The California Court of Appeals ruled in our client’s favor, holding that California’s strict liability laws apply to Amazon in cases where defective products were purchased from a third-party seller and fulfilled by Amazon.
This is especially helpful to consumers because recovering compensation from third-party sellers can be extremely difficult and, in many cases, impossible. Many third-party sellers cannot be tracked down, and a large portion of them are based in China and other foreign locations.
In traditional product liability cases, sellers and manufacturers are strictly liable for damages caused by dangerous and defective products. Contrary to Amazon’s argument, this court ruling rightly extends strict liability laws to e-commerce companies who fulfill purchases for third-party sellers on their platforms. This is good news for innocent consumers who have been injured by defective products purchased online.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries and damages due to a defective product purchased on Amazon or another e-commerce site, contact a product liability attorney at CaseyGerry to schedule a free consultation. Our law firm has been advocating for injured clients for more than 70 years, and we are not afraid to take on Amazon or any other large corporate defendant.