Jul 7, 2019

How a faulty dog leash became a new threat for Amazon and crew

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A malfunctioning dog leash could end up creating billions of dollars of potential liabilities for online marketplaces, with Amazon front and center.

Background: A dog leash sold and shipped by The Furry Gang, one of the millions of small sellers that operate on Amazon’s marketplace, snapped, permanently blinding the buyer in her left eye.

  • Amazon is responsible for the injury, according to a 2-1 decision from Philadelphia’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Amazon’s involvement in transactions extends beyond a mere editorial function; it plays a large role in the actual sales process,” the opinion states.

Our thought bubble: This ruling challenges the company’s longtime practice of effectively outsourcing quality control to its customers and their reviews. Amazon could now be held liable for all the random things that get sold on its site.

What to watch: This isn’t just bad news for Amazon. The whole e-commerce sector — including companies like Walmart, eBay and Shopify — could come under fire.

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A closer look at how colleges can reopen

The campus of Brown University. Photo: Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Masks in class, sports on hold, dorm life without roommates and summer 2021 classes for some: Brown University President Christina Paxson tells "Axios on HBO" it's all in play as colleges consider whether and how to safely reopen campuses in the fall.

Why it matters: An extended shutdown of U.S. colleges and universities would leave nearly 20 million students and 3 million employees with an uncertain future, but premature reopenings without proper coronavirus safeguards could jeopardize lives and force more closings.

How Disney World could host the NBA

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After weeks of speculation, the NBA announced Saturday that it is in early discussions to resume its season in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

What they're saying: The NBA's most well-sourced reporter, Adrian Wojnarowski, says "everything is pointing toward" this happening, and that teams could start recalling players as soon as next week for a two-week quarantine period and formal training camp before heading to Florida.