However, the ruling in the Philadelphia appeals court has overturned a previous decision in the lower court finding that as the retailer, it can't pass the buck if a third-party product develops a fault or needs to be returned.
The decision weakens legal protections Amazon has received in previous rulings and exposes it to huge risk, given third-party vendors sell $160 billion worth of goods on the platform. That distinction is important, because Pennsylvania law makes it easier for people who are injured to recover damages from sellers of defective products than from agents of the sellers.
Following the reveal of court's verdict, Oberdort's lawyer, David Wilk said, "It's gratifying that the 3rd Circuit agreed with our argument and recognized that the existing interpretation of product liability law in Pennsylvania was not addressing the reality, the dominance that Amazon has in the marketplace".
The judges offered several reasons for this conclusion, including that Amazon operates its platform in a way that allows outside vendors to hide their identities - which leaves customers without the ability to sue those vendors.
Amazon brings in significant e-commerce business to thanks to third-party sellers.
The complaint that led to Wednesday's ruling was lodged in 2016 by Amazon user Heather Oberdorf, who was hit by a retractable dog leash, which snapped and recoiled, blinding her in one eye.
Circuit Judge Jane Richards Roth said that Amazon might be liable for defective products in part because of its business model.
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Ms Oberdorf couldn't get good visibility on The Furry Gang (that's blindness for you) and pushed back before her case was thrown out by the lower court.
Amazon has not officially responded to the case yet.
It exerts substantial control over third-party vendors in that it has the discretion to remove unsafe projects from its website.
Amazon has the option of seeking reconsideration of the panel's decision, asking the Supreme Court to accept an appeal or pursuing a defense before Brann in the Middle District.
It is uniquely positioned to receive reports of defective products and remove them from circulation.
In Wednesday's opinion, Circuit Judge Jane Richards Roth, writing for a 2-1 majority of a three-judge panel, said Amazon may be liable in part because its business model "enables third-party vendors to hide themselves from the customer, leaving customers injured by defective products with no direct recourse to the third-party vendor".
Judge Anthony J. Scirica dissented, saying he wouldn't have found Amazon a seller under legal guidelines on product liability claims in Pennsylvania.