La corte d’appello (9 circuito) conferma che Amazon (A.) non è nè venditore (seller) nè manifacturer ai fini della responsabilità del produttore da prodotto difettoso.
Si tratta di State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. Amazon.com, Inc., 2020 WL 6746745 (9th Cir. Nov. 17, 2020).
Perchè ci sia tale responsabilità, bisogna che <an entity must be an “integral part of an enterprise” that resulted in the defective product being placed in the stream of commerce>, p. 3
E ciò si determina con una valutazione complessiva sui seguenti sette parametri, disse il giudice di primo grado (dell’Arizona):
<<a number of factors when determining if entities participate significantly in the stream of commerce and are therefore subject to strict liability, including whether they: (1) provide a warranty for the product’s quality; (2) are responsible for the product during transit; (3) exercise enough control over the product to inspect or examine it; (4) take title or ownership over the product; (5) derive an economic benefit from the transaction; (6) have the capacity to influence a product’s design and manufacture; or (7) foster consumer reliance through their involvement.>>
Ebbene, la corte di appello accetta tale impostazione e conferma che il loro esame porta a rigettare la domanda verso Amazon:
<<First, Amazon expressly disclaims any warranties in its Business Services Agreement, which applied to the third-party seller of the allegedly defective hoverboards here. Not providing a warranty indicates that Amazon does not take responsibility for the quality of the product. … . Second, while Amazon facilitated the shipping of the third-party seller’s hoverboards from the warehouse to the consumer, this did not make Amazon the seller of the product any more than the U.S. Postal Service or United Parcel Service are when they take possession of an item and transport it to a customer…. . Third, while Amazon could theoretically use its market power to inspect third-party sellers’ products, in practice it does not. Instead, Amazon relies on sellers’ representations regarding the contents of the packages it stores before placing them in an Amazon box for shipping.. . Fourth, while Amazon did store and then mail the hoverboards to the customer on behalf of the third-party seller, at no time did Amazon take title to the hoverboards, which supports the conclusion that it is not the seller of the product. … . Fifth, Amazon derives only a small benefit from each of the transactions of the third-party sellers that use its services, suggesting that Amazon’s interest in the transaction is limited. … . Sixth, while Amazon undoubtedly has the capacity, due to its market power, to influence third-party sellers’ design and manufacturing decisions, State Farm shows little to support the conclusion that Amazon does so in practice…. . Seventh, the consumer reliance factor weighs in Amazon’s favor because the third party is listed as the seller on the website and receipt, and State Farm does not cite to any cases that support its contention that an injured party’s subjective belief about the identity of the seller weighs in favor of finding that entity strictly liable>>.
In conclusione, <<we conclude that under Arizona’s existing body of case law, which requires us to balance various factors and provide a contextual analysis of whether the non-moving party participated significantly in the stream of commerce, summary judgment for Amazon is appropriate here. While Amazon provides a website for third-party sellers and facilitates sales for those sellers, it is not a “seller” under Arizona’s strict liability law for the third-party hoverboard sales at issue here>>.
Per lo stesso motivo, oltre alla domanda basata sulla strict liability, è rigettata pure quella basata sulla ordinaria negligence, p. 6/7
Non di discute affatto di safe harbour ex § 230 CDA.
(notizia e link presi dal blog di Eric Goldman)
Il tema è assai seguito negli USA, molto meno da noi (Ue), ove l’approccio èdiverso, mirando soprauttto all’utilizzo della disciplina dei prodotti sicuri..
Per un esame comparato USA/UE v. Busch C., Rethinking Product Liability Rules for Online Marketplaces: A Comparative Perspective (February 10, 2021). 2021 Consumer Law Scholars Conference in Boston (March 4-5, 2021), scaricabile da https://ssrn.com/abstract=3784466 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3784466 . L’a. auspica che anche da noi venga introdotta una responsabilità del gestore del marketplace (v . sub V, p. 33 ss)