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AB-3262 Product liability: electronic marketplaces.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/28/2020 09:00 PM
AB3262:v98#DOCUMENT

Revised  May 12, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 04, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 3262


Introduced by Assembly Member Mark Stone
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Gonzalez)

February 21, 2020


An act to amend add Section 1714 of 1714.46 to the Civil Code, relating to civil liability.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 3262, as amended, Mark Stone. Civil liability. Product liability: electronic marketplaces.
Existing law requires that a manufacturer or seller not be held liable in a product liability action if the product is inherently unsafe and the product is known to be unsafe by the ordinary consumer who consumes the product with the ordinary knowledge common to the community and the product is a common consumer product intended for personal consumption, as specified.
This bill would require a marketplace, as defined, that is an electronic place or internet website to be held strictly liable, subject to certain exceptions, for all damages proximately caused by defective products to the same extent as a retailer that is not an electronic place or internet website.

Existing law provides, among other things, that a person is responsible, not only for the result of their willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by the person’s want of ordinary care or skill in the management of their property or person. Such want of ordinary care or skill is the standard for negligence in this state.

This bill would specify that a person is responsible for injury occasioned by their negligence.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Under existing law a manufacturer, supplier, or seller of goods is strictly liable in tort if a product the company places on the market, knowing that it is to be used without inspection for defects by the consumer who purchased it, proves to have a defect that causes injury to a human being.
(b) The purpose of that liability is to ensure that the costs of injuries resulting from defective products are borne by the manufacturers, suppliers, or sellers that put the products on the market rather than by the injured persons who are powerless to inspect the product and protect themselves before purchase.
(c) Under existing law, the elements of a strict liability action are all of the following:
(1) The product was used in an intended or reasonably foreseeable manner.
(2) The product was in a defective condition when it left the defendant’s possession.
(3) The defective product was the legal cause of the plaintiff’s injuries or damages.
(d) There is uncertainty as to how to apply strict product liability law to online marketplaces having a relationship with their customers beyond simply operating as a conduit between willing sellers of products and willing buyers. As a result, some injured consumers who purchase products through online marketplaces are unable to obtain compensation for their injuries from those that manufactured, supplied, or sold the products, thereby defeating the compensatory purpose of strict liability law.
(e) Unless this uncertainty is addressed in favor of compensating injured consumers, more and more companies will forego selling products through physical stores where strict product liability principles would require compensation. Instead, manufacturers, suppliers, and sellers will emphasize online marketplace sales of possibly defective and injurious products thereby increasing the financial burdens on consumers, public health systems, and private and public insurers who, alone or in combination, will unjustly have to pay for the cost of treating and healing injuries without contribution from those that actually caused the harm.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1714.46 is added to the Civil Code, to read:

1714.46.
 (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a marketplace, as defined in Section 1749.7 that is an electronic place or internet website shall be strictly liable for all damages proximately caused by defective products to the same extent as a retailer that is not an electronic place or internet website. This liability shall apply whether or not the electronic place or internet website marketplace had physical possession of the defective product that caused the injury or took title to the defective product that caused the injury.
(b) A marketplace that is an electronic place or internet website shall not be liable as described in subdivision (a) if it demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that either of the following conditions are met:
(1) The defective product that caused the injury was prominently described or prominently advertised on the electronic place or internet website marketplace as preowned or used.
(2) The marketplace that is an electronic place or internet website did not receive compensation or payment from the consumer for the defective product that caused the injury whether by receiving a payment from the consumer or by receiving a share of compensation or payment obtained from the consumer by the manufacturer, supplier, or seller for the defective product that caused the injury.

SECTION 1.Section 1714 of the Civil Code is amended to read:
1714.

(a)Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of that person’s willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by the person’s want of ordinary care or skill, or negligence, in the management of their property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon themselves. The design, distribution, or marketing of firearms and ammunition is not exempt from the duty to use ordinary care and skill that is required by this section. The extent of liability in these cases is defined by the Title on Compensatory Relief.

(b)It is the intent of the Legislature to abrogate the holdings in cases such as Vesely v. Sager (1971) 5 Cal.3d 153, Bernhard v. Harrah’s Club (1976) 16 Cal.3d 313, and Coulter v. Superior Court (1978) 21 Cal.3d 144 and to reinstate the prior judicial interpretation of this section as it relates to proximate cause for injuries incurred as a result of furnishing alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person, namely that the furnishing of alcoholic beverages is not the proximate cause of injuries resulting from intoxication, but rather the consumption of alcoholic beverages is the proximate cause of injuries inflicted upon another by an intoxicated person.

(c)Except as provided in subdivision (d), no social host who furnishes alcoholic beverages to any person may be held legally accountable for damages suffered by that person, or for injury to the person or property of, or death of, any third person, resulting from the consumption of those beverages.

(d)(1)Nothing in subdivision (c) shall preclude a claim against a parent, guardian, or another adult who knowingly furnishes alcoholic beverages at the adult’s residence to a person whom the adult knows, or should have known, to be under 21 years of age, in which case, notwithstanding subdivision (b), the furnishing of the alcoholic beverage may be found to be the proximate cause of resulting injuries or death.

(2)A claim under this subdivision may be brought by, or on behalf of, the person under 21 years of age or by a person who was harmed by the person under 21 years of age.

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