Amazon Can’t Ditch Suit Over Faulty Lithium-Ion Batteries

A Washington federal judge refused to let Inc. out of a proposed class action alleging that it knowingly sells defective lithium-ion batteries, rejecting the online marketplace’s argument that the suit doesn’t meet pleading standards.

U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour denied Amazon’s motion to dismiss the suit by Craig Crosby and Christopher Johnson, finding that they had sufficiently alleged how they were deceived.

Crosby and Johnson aim to represent a class of all people who bought the lithium-ion batteries from Amazon between May 2021 and the class certification, alleging that the batteries Amazon sells do not have their claimed energy capacity, and are prone to overheating, catching fire and exploding. They further alleged that Amazon was aware of this, but concealed the alleged defects.

Amazon pushed to dismiss the suit, arguing that Crosby and Johnson failed to allege who was responsible for the alleged deception and the nature of the deception, but Judge Coughenour wrote that the complaint contains a table summarizing all relevant details — such as the claimed versus actual energy capacities — and the complaint specifically alleges that Amazon Warehouse Deals, a division of the company, is responsible for the sale and marketing of the batteries.

The online marketplace had also argued that the pair haven’t alleged an actual injury because Crosby and Johnson bought the batteries solely for the purposes of filing the suit rather than for their use. In its motion to dismiss, Amazon noted that they bought the batteries that gave rise to this suit after another action they filed in California, making the same allegations, was sent to arbitration.

Judge Coughenour, however, said the complaint does not “unequivocally” demonstrate Crosby and Johnson’s intent when buying the batteries, and it would be inappropriate for the court to speculate on their motives at this stage.

Finally, the judge denied Amazon’s bid to strike class allegations as having a too-broadly defined class, saying those arguments are better suited to the class certification stage.


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