The Heavy Hand of Amazon: A Seller Not a Neutral Platform

Brooklyn Journal of Corporate Financial & Commercial Law, Spring 2020, Forthcoming

Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 612

18 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2019 Last revised: 14 Nov 2019

Date Written: October 9, 2019

Abstract

Since the adoption of Section 402A of the Second Restatement of Torts, every party in a product’s distribution chain has been potentially liable for injuries caused by product defects. Consumers who buy from reputable sellers are almost always guaranteed that they will have a solvent defendant if injured by a product defect. Amazon, though responsible for a vast number of retail sales, has sought to avoid liability by claiming that it is not a seller but a neutral platform that merely facilitates third-party sales to consumers. With the exception of one court most courts have sided with Amazon and left injured consumers without a remedy against insolvent third-party sellers. All of the decided cases have failed to examine the nuances and complexity of how Amazon does business. This essay puts the lie to Amazon’s claim that it is not a seller by demonstrating how Amazon controls third-party sales and hides its true role from consumers.

Keywords: Amazon, products liability, third-party sellers

Suggested Citation

Janger, Edward J. and Twerski, Aaron D., The Heavy Hand of Amazon: A Seller Not a Neutral Platform (October 9, 2019). Brooklyn Journal of Corporate Financial & Commercial Law, Spring 2020, Forthcoming; Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 612. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3467059

Edward J. Janger

Brooklyn Law School ( email )

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States
718-780-7995 (Phone)
718-780-0376 (Fax)

Aaron D. Twerski (Contact Author)

Brooklyn Law School ( email )

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States

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