This case entails a product known as “Better Than Pasta,” which accommodates konjac as an ingredient. Konjac can swell because it maneuvers by the intestines, inflicting doubtlessly severe accidents. As a consequence, some international locations ban konjac merchandise or require warning labels. The plaintiff on this case purchased Better Than Pasta on Amazon, consumed it, and suffered private accidents. She sued the maker (Green Spot), Amazon, and others. Amazon filed a movement to dismiss. The court docket says “For purposes of this motion, both parties agree that Amazon is a retailer.” Thus, this ruling isn’t addressing Amazon’s market operate.
Negligence and Breach of Implied Warranty. The product packaging listed konjac flour as an ingredient and shopper evaluations indicated that folks have been having issues with the product, so Amazon had discover of the product’s potential hazard.
Breach of Express Warranty. Amazon designated the product as an “Amazon’s Choice,” however that designation didn’t convey any additional details about the product. Amazon did present a product assure with a refund, however the plaintiff didn’t allege that Amazon breached the assure.
False Advertising. Section 230 protects Amazon from legal responsibility for the maker’s promoting. The court docket says different courts have “barred claims against Amazon for permitting injurious or prohibited products on its platform without adding warnings.” The court docket cites to McMillan v Amazon and the withdrawn 3d Cir. opinion in Oberdorf–each of which have been market instances, not retailer instances. The court docket explains:
the query is whether or not Amazon might be thought of an info content material supplier with respect to Better than Pasta’s promoting, and the Court finds that it isn’t. There is inadequate factual pleading supporting the believable inference that Amazon itself created or edited any of the Better than Pasta promoting content material.
I’m struggling to know this a part of the ruling. Normally a retailer is accountable for its own false promoting, even when it relays false copy from producers verbatim. Here, the court docket appears to be saying that an on-line retailer can invoke Section 230 towards producers’ advert copy, even when the retailer displayed that advert copy as a part of its product gross sales. This jogged my memory of the uncited Corker v. Costco case, which appeared equally garbled on this level. Pursuant to the uncited HomeAway case, marketplaces can invoke 230 for service provider listings up till the purpose what place the transaction consummates, wherein case all bets are off. Here, the court docket appears to go additional–the court docket appears to be saying that retailers (not simply marketplaces) get safety for the third-party advert copy even when they shut the deal….? It would have helped if the court docket had laid out extra of its pondering right here.
The plaintiff claimed that Amazon had deleted adverse evaluations on the maker’s request. The court docket says these have been inadequately pled.
Amazon’s information on the false promoting declare is nice, however the lawsuit’s actual payload is the negligence declare, which the court docket will let proceed.
Case quotation: Brodie v. Green Spot Foods LLC, 2020 WL 7027594 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 30, 2020)