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Amazon Liable under Strict Products Liability

Jeff Matthews

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As a follow up to this thread, the California Supreme Court denied Amazon’s Petition for Review in Bolger v. Amazon – a landmark case in which the California Court of Appeal held Amazon strictly liable for a defective battery sold on its marketplace that caused catastrophic burn injuries to Angela Bolger. 


The San Diego-based Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One ruled in August that Amazon, like other retailers, can be held strictly liable for defective products sold on its virtual marketplace. Following the ruling, Amazon requested review by the California Supreme Court and also asked the high court to “depublish” the opinion, which would strip it of any precedential value. Amazon argued the Court of Appeal drastically expanded strict liability in California and took an ‘unprecedented leap’ when it found that Amazon was strictly liable for a defective replacement laptop battery that exploded several months after purchase. With this denial of review, the case was remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with the ruling.


As noted in the San Diego Metro Daily Business Report: https://www.sandiegometro.com/2020/11/daily-business-report-nov-24-2020/


When I was in law school decades ago, we believed the Kansas Supreme Court had only two sets of law books: Kansas to tell them what the law is currently and California to tell them what the law will be in twenty years.  


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On 9/30/2020 at 7:51 AM, DizRotus said:

Uber and Lyft would seem to have more liability for their “independent contractor” drivers than does Amazon for products sold by third parties.  You know most, if not all, Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as pizza delivery drivers using their own cars, are not informing their insurance carriers regarding the true commercial use of their “personal” vehicles.  If they did, their premiums would be prohibitive. 


Automobile insurance coverage gets murky even when a carpool driver collects “gas money” from co-workers.  A failure to disclose a commercial use of a personal vehicle probably voids the insurance.  At a minimum, the driver would be underinsured.  If it hasn’t happened already, some horrendous accident will pit all parties and their respective insurance carriers against each other.


Why @Chad does the forum now spontaneously have me quote myself, which I would never do.  My father warned me this causes blindness.

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