A family in Ohio is currently suing Amazon after their teen son died due to consuming a powdered coffee drink that was purchased through their website.
According to the report, 18-year-old Logan Stiner was found unresponsive in his home in 2014 after consuming the drink that was purchased by a friend from Amazon and then given to him.
A coroner ruled Stiner’s cause of death as cardiac arrhythmia and seizure from acute caffeine toxicity.
Officials say at his time of death, the teen has as much as 23 times the amount of caffeine in his system than a typical coffee or soda drinker.
The family says Stiner was using the powdered coffee drink as a pre-workout shake to give him more energy in the gym.
While there no one in the case, including Amazon, is denying that the coffee drink is was led to Stiner’s death, neither party can agree on who should be responsible for the marketing and selling of the product to the teen.
The teen’s friend has admitted that she found the product through an third party retailer on Amazon’s website and purchased the product of her own volition, but Stiner’s family believes that Amazon should still be held responsible for serving as a platform from which the product was sold.
Amazon, however, claims that since the drink was sold by and shipped from a 3rd party retailer, and that all the information on the product came from the third party’s website, that they should not be held responsible for the purchase; especially since under Ohio’s law a supplier is defined as that which operates under ownership, control and hands-on actions with a product.
“Amazon never touched the product, and third parties provided all of the website content and delivered the product directly to the purchaser,” Amazon attorney Joyce Edelman argued in 2019.
“The idea that Amazon cannot be a ‘supplier’ because it did not physically touch or take title to the product at issue ignores both the manner in which e-commerce is conduct today and Amazon’s crucial role in recommending the deadly powder,” the Stiner family’s lawyer argued last year.
The case has been heard in several different courts which generally made rulings in Amazon’s favor, however, the Ohio Supreme Court plans to hear arguments on Wednesday on whether they should or should not pursue charges against Amazon.
Since Stiner’s death, several changes to laws regarding the sell and distribution of powder caffeine have gone into effect.
In 2015, former governor John Kasich signed a bill that banned the sale of pure powdered caffeine in Ohio and in 2018, the FDA said supplements consisting of pure or highly concentrated caffeine in powder or liquid forms, often sold in bulk, are ” generally unlawful” when sold directly to the customer.