Amazon would support bill holding online retailers liable for injuries under certain conditions

A California appeals court ruled the company should be held to a higher standard of liability

Amazon said it would conditionally support a California bill that holds online marketplaces strictly liable for defective products after a California appeals court ruled the company should be held to a higher standard of liability.

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"AB 3262 would extend this strict liability law to online marketplaces," Amazon's policy guru Brian Huseman wrote in a blog post. "If enacted, companies like Amazon could be held liable for damages or injuries caused by items sold by third-party sellers on Amazon.com. ... If AB 3262 is amended so that all stores, including online marketplaces, are held to the same standards, Amazon stands ready to support this legislation. "

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Nearly 60% of products sold on Amazon come from third-party sellers, the company said.

The independent group Consumer Reports said in June that it supports AB 3262 because "legislative action is needed to incentivize online marketplaces to protect these consumers and verify the safety of products to the same extent as brick-and-mortar stores do."

Seattle, USA - Feb 25, 2020: People visiting the first day of the Amazon Go cashier less grocery store late in the day on Capitol Hill. (iStock)

"Ensuring that platforms are strictly liable for defective products sold on their sites would address the problem of tracking down sellers of defective products on online platforms. It’s not always easy to do so, in part because many of the sellers are outside the U.S. or lack sufficient identifying information," the group wrote.

Amazon received the unfavorable California appeals court ruling in mid-August.

In a unanimous decision, the Fourth District Court of Appeals' Judge Patricia Guerrero wrote that "under established principles of strict liability, Amazon should be held liable if a product sold through its website turns out to be defective."

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The ruling rolled back a previous decision from a trial court that came out in favor of Amazon's motion for a summary judgment.

However, the company can still appeal to the Golden State's Supreme Court.

The case in dispute concerned a replacement laptop battery that Amazon shopper Angela Bolger purchased from a Hong Kong-based company called Lenoge Technology; Lenoge Technology went by the fictitious name "E-Life" on Amazon's online marketplace.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and Blue Origin speaks during the JFK Space Summit, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Katherine Taylor

In her suit against Amazon, Bolger claimed that "the battery exploded several months later, and she suffered severe burns as a result."

While Bolger contended Amazon should be held responsible for the incident, Amazon argued that it was not liable because "it did not distribute, manufacture, or sell the product."

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FOX Business' inquiry to Amazon was not immediately returned.

Fox News' Julia Musto contributed to this report.

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