NY Ruling On Amazon’s Seller Liability Is Good For Plaintiffs

January 4, 2021Law360

Last month, a New York trial court addressed for the first time whether Amazon.com Inc. can be strictly liable under New York law for injuries caused by an allegedly defective product offered on its website by a third-party vendor. Finding liability attached, the court joined only a handful of other courts nationwide that have addressed this issue head-on.

Though the opinion — in State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. Amazon.com Services Inc. — isn't binding on other New York courts, and leaves open the possibility of a defense on the merits or an appeal, its reasoned expansion of strict tort liability is likely to resonate with both plaintiffs seeking alternative means of recovery for hard-to-sue sellers, and e-commerce defendants looking to minimize the risk of facing similar suits.

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