New Brunswick Tribune

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Customers can file a lawsuit against Amazon if harmful warnings aren’t given

Customers of Amazon may sue due to a lack of harmful warnings.

Key Takeaways:

  • The California Supreme Court affirmed a ruling allowing customers to sue for failing to warn them that certain of its products may contain hazardous materials such as mercury.
  • Safety is a top priority for Amazon, according to a statement made on Thursday, and the products in question have been removed for quite some time.

The California Supreme Court upheld a decision allowing customers to sue for failing to notify them that some of its products may contain harmful elements like mercury.

The court refused Amazon’s request to review a lower court verdict that found the company had broken California’s Proposition 65, which compels corporations to warn customers about products that contain chemicals that cause cancer, reproductive damage, or birth defects.

A lawsuit filed in Alameda County claimed that the online retail giant deliberately allowed skin-lightening cosmetics to be offered on its website for years despite concerns about hazardous mercury levels in such creams.

Pregnant mothers and their foetuses can be harmed by mercury. The lawsuit claimed that some of the products sold on Amazon were made by third parties and contained mercury levels thousands of times higher than the federal legal limit in the United States.

Also read: New regulations have the potential to save billions of dollars

According to a statement released on Thursday, safety is a primary priority for Amazon, and the products in question have long been withdrawn.

“All products must comply with applicable laws and regulations, and we have proactive systems in place to prevent suspect or non-compliant products from being listed,” according to the statement. “We also monitor the products sold in our stores for safety concerns.”

The Supreme Court’s decision authorizes state courts to apply the previous court’s decision as precedent.

According to Rachel Doughty, a plaintiff’s attorney in the litigation, California has such a huge market share that any efforts Amazon takes to conform with Proposition 65 could have a much broader impact on customers.

Customers of Amazon may sue due to a lack of harmful warnings.
Customers of Amazon may sue due to a lack of harmful warnings. Image from Fox 7 Austin

“That may mean removing carcinogens or reproductive poisons from Amazon’s site, or Amazon taking steps to guarantee that a warning is issued… so consumers can take steps to prevent exposure to such chemicals,” Doughty wrote in an email.

A judge dismissed the complaint in 2019 after finding that Amazon was shielded by a portion of the federal Communications Decency Act that protects websites from liability for content submitted by third parties.

In March, a state appeals court ruled that Amazon doesn’t just operate as a marketplace for sellers to display their products; it also actively stores, sells and transports them.

According to the court, a drugstore that sold the same creams would be forced to post Proposition 65 warnings.

Source: Global News

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