Oberdorf v. Amazon.com, Inc., No. 18-1041, 930 F.3d 136 (3d Cir. Jul. 3, 2019), vacated, rehearing en banc granted, 936 F.3d 182 (3d Cir. Aug. 23, 2019)

Third Circuit set to decide whether a company can be retroactively deemed to have “sold” a product it never had control of.

A panel of the the Third Circuit reversed a District Court’s conclusion that Amazon.com was not a “seller” of an allegedly defective dog collar under Section 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts. The appellate court panel concluded that, under Pennsylvania law, Amazon.com was sufficiently involved in the sale of the product and rejected Amazon’s assertion that it was merely the marketplace for the sale conducted by and between others, like a shopping mall or auctioneer. However, a majority of judges on the full court vacated the panel decision and listed the case for reargument en banc, which will be held in February 2020. Re-briefing drew heavy amicus support for both sides, and the case is undoubtedly now being closely watched. A decision by the full Third Circuit, either way, will surely reverberate throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.


Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2020 is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2020 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.