October 20, 2020
By Adam J. Langino and Leslie M. Kroeger
“The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Our goal is to be earth’s most customer-centric company.”— Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, Inc.
On August 13, 2020 in Bolger v. Amazon.com, LLC1 , California’s Fourth Appellate District held that Amazon.com, LLC can be held liable for a third-party sellers’ defective products. This article discusses that decision, its background, and its potential aftermath.
Amazon.com, LLC is a subsidiary of the parent company Amazon. com, Inc. Amazon.com, LLC is the entity that runs Amazon.com. Amazon.com LLC (hereinafter “Amazon”) is a Delaware company with its principal address in Seattle, Washington. In the U.S., approximately half of all online shopping dollars are spent on Amazon.com.
Amazon establishes the pricing for approximately 40 percent of products it selects, buys, and sells to customers online. Those products were not at issue on appeal. The remaining 60 percent are products sold by third parties through Amazon’s website. These third-party sellers select their own products, source them from manufacturers or distributors, set the product’s price, and reach customers through Amazon.com.
In 2017, the Bolger Plaintiff sued several companies, including Amazon.com LLC, and at least one California corporation, alleging that they were accountable for negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liability in selling a Hewlett Packard laptop computer that exploded in her lap causing severe burns to her body. The Amazon listing for the battery identified the seller as “E-life,” a fictitious name used by Lenoge Technology (HK) Ltd. Lenoge was served but did not appear, so the trial court entered a default.
The complete article can be accessed here.