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Amazon's Seattle headquarters. Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. Photo: Miune/Shutterstock.com

The online retail giant Amazon may be liable under products liability laws for defective products sold by third-party vendors, a federal appeals court has ruled, reversing a federal trial court and potentially setting the stage for a split among federal courts on the issue.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Wednesday that Amazon is a “seller” as the term is defined in the Second Restatement of Torts, and therefore subject to Pennsylvania’s strict liability laws. The 2-1 panel decision reversed a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which predicted that the state Supreme Court would not consider the company to be a “seller” for strict liability purposes.

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Max Mitchell

Max Mitchell is ALM's Pennsylvania Bureau Chief overseeing The Legal Intelligencer, Delaware Law Weekly and Delaware Business Court Insider. Follow him on Twitter @MMitchellTLI. His email is [email protected]

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