If you have been injured by a defective product, you may have legal recourse. In Maryland, sellers and manufacturers may be held liable for putting a defective product into the hands of a consumer. A Maryland products liability action may be brought under theories of negligence, breach of warranty, or strict liability. In a recent opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals considered whether Amazon could be held liable under Maryland law for damage caused by a defective product sold on its website.
The consumer in the case had purchased an LED headlamp on Amazon’s website as a gift to his friends. The headlamp’s batteries apparently malfunctioned, igniting the friends’ house and causing over $300,000 in damages. The company that insured the house brought a subrogation action against Amazon, alleging products liability claims under Maryland law.
In Maryland, a products liability action arising from breach of warranty, negligence, or strict liability may be brought against the seller of a defective product. A “seller” includes a manufacturer, distributor, dealer, wholesaler, other middleman, or the retailer. The plaintiff must show three elements in a Maryland products liability action: (1) a defect; (2) attribution of the defect to the seller; and (3) a causal relationship between the defect and the injury to the plaintiff. The defect must be shown to exist at the time the product left the seller (whether manufacturer, distributor, or retailer), or at the time the sale was made.