Earlier this year, the parents of a teen that suffered a severe head injury sued the makers of a novelty samurai sword. Now, the parents of the injured teen have filed a second lawsuit, this time against Amazon, and, curiously, one of the three teens present at the accident.
In addition to the many claims against Amazon, a negligence claim was included against the teen who was directing and encouraging the two other teens to be playing with the sword in order to film them. The claim against Amazon is rather straightforward. In short, it’s a product liability claim, similar to the one made against the manufacturer, and these claims hold each entity or person who had a part in the sale and distribution of a product liable when injuries result due to the product’s faulty design or some defect.
What Did Amazon Do, Allegedly?
Product liability claims can extend well beyond the manufacturer of a product. The parties that can be held liable for injuries caused by defective products or failures to warn include the:
Manufacturer of a component, or single piece of the product
Assembler, or installer
Retail store that sold the product
The lawsuit against Amazon alleges that the retail giant actually processed the entire sale, from accepting payment for the item on their platform, to boxing up the item without any warnings, and shipping it, as well as profiting from the sale. The sword itself is alleged to be defectively designed for failing to warn consumers that it should not be used for anything other than decoration. Since Amazon was prominently involved in the sale, the lawsuit against them asserts that it should have, minimally, provided warnings inside the shipping box.
What Did the Other Teen Do, Allegedly?
The teen that is being sued for negligence is alleged to have encouraged the two other teens to play with the sword so that she could film it for social media. The lawsuit claims she choreographed the stunt, and induced the boys to act by the lure of “Instagram or Snapchat notoriety.”
Under a negligence theory, when a person induces or encourages others to act, they can be held liable for injuries if that encouragement was malicious, reckless, or otherwise ill-advised. Additionally, if the end result is fatal, or rises to the level of criminality, criminal charges can be pursued.