Monday, April 26, 2021

Loomis v. (Cal. Ct. App. - April 26, 2021)

It's nice when the Court of Appeal includes a helpful summary of the holding at the outset.  As Judge Ohta -- from Los Angeles, and sitting on the Court of Appeal by designation -- does today.  He says:

"Kisha Loomis brought suit against LLC (Amazon) for injuries she suffered from an allegedly defective hoverboard. The hoverboard was sold by a third party seller named TurnUpUp through the Amazon website. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Amazon. The primary issue on appeal is whether Amazon may be held strictly liable for Loomis’s injuries from the defective product. Recently, the Fourth District addressed this issue as a matter of first impression in Bolger v., LLC (2020) 53 Cal.App.5th 431 (Bolger), review denied November 18, 2020. Bolger held Amazon “is an ‘integral part of the overall producing and marketing enterprise that should bear the cost of injuries resulting from defective products.’ ” (Id. at p. 453.) Our own review of California law on strict products liability persuades us that Bolger was correctly decided and that strict liability may attach under the circumstances of this case. We reverse and remand with directions."

That's indeed a robust description of what the opinion holds.  Don't need to add much more to understand the Court of Appeal's holding.

One that's important both practically -- for those who've purchased things from Amazon (which is almost everyone) -- as well as doctrinally.

Justice Wiley writes a concurring opinion that basically consists of a brief overview of the history of strict liability in California and an explication of why imposing such liability makes sense from a cost-benefit standpoint.  Justice Wiley wasn't a torts scholar when he taught at UCLA, but his analysis reminded me a ton of my first-year torts class in law school.  It was super heavy on theory.  Professor Rosenberg said in my class lots of the same things that Justice Wiley says in his concurrence.  So a walk down memory lane for me.