TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Is Amazon a Seller for Purposes of Products Liability? Issue Certified to PA Supreme Court

A year ago, the Third Circuit held that Amazon was a seller for purposes of Pennsylvania products liability, even if the goods were owned by third parties.  (Coverage here)  Then the Third Circuit decided to revisit the case en banc.  Last month, the Third Circuit certified the issue to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court:

This is an issue of first impression and substantial public importance, yet we cannot discern if and how 402A applies to Amazon. We are,as a result, unable to predict how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would rule in this dispute. NOW THEREFORE, the following question of law is certified to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for disposition according to the rules of that Court:

Under Pennsylvania law, is an e-commerce business, like Amazon, strictly liable for a defective product that was purchased on its platform from a third-party vendor, which product was neither possessed nor owned by the e-commerce business?

We shall retain jurisdiction over the appeal pending resolution of this certification.

Oberdorf v. Amazon.com, Inc., No 18-1041, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 17974 (3d Cir. June 2, 2020)

Thanks to Shannon Costa for the tip.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2020/07/is-amazon-a-seller-for-purposes-of-products-liability-issue-certified-to-pa-supreme-court.html

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