When someone suffers an injury because of a defective product, they may be able to recover damages under Florida’s product liability laws. Product liability lawsuits are claims brought against a manufacturer or seller for putting a defective product into the stream of commerce. In Florida, most product liability claims stem from design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. The majority of these cases encompass the doctrine of strict liability. Although there are many similarities between ordinary negligence clams and strict liability, the difference is critical. Lawsuits involving strict liability claims do not typically require that the plaintiff provide proof of the defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care. Instead, liability is imposed based on the defendant’s capacity as a manufacturer, retailer, or seller.
Issues often arise when the defendant is an intermediary or sells products from a third-party, such as is the case with Amazon. Historically, Amazon has avoided liability by maintaining its position as a mere conduit between buyers and sellers. The major online marketplace has relied on the Communications Decency Act, which provides legal protections for online entities for content users post on their platforms. However, courts across the United States have started to examine whether this broad-ranging protection is appropriate.
In fact, a state appellate court recently issued a noteworthy opinion in a product liability lawsuit against Amazon. In that case, the plaintiff purchased a computer battery on Amazon, by a seller using a fictitious name on the website. Amazon charged the plaintiff, acquired the battery from one of their warehouses, prepared it for shipment in Amazon packaging, and mailed it to the plaintiff. The plaintiff suffered severe burns when the battery exploded a few months later.