$44.6 Million

Verdict Holding Amazon Liable for Injuries Caused by Distracted Drivers

The Case: Our client Shannon Shaw, a motorcyclist, sustained a traumatic brain injury and numerous orthopedic injuries in September 2021 when an Amazon Delivery Associate failed to yield to the right of way and turned left directly into his path on Orangeburg Road in Summerville, South Carolina. We filed suit against the driver, the local delivery company MJV Logistics, and Amazon, Amazon Services and Amazon Logistics Inc.

The Outcome: For two years, this case was heavily litigated by the Amazon defendants. Amazon has sought to contractually shield itself from liability for the “last mile” delivery of its packages in Amazon-branded and owned blue vans by setting up a network of individually owned Delivery Service Partners who Amazon labels as “independent contractors” and tasks with hiring and employing the Delivery Associate drivers.

At trial, we successfully countered that in South Carolina, what parties have labeled themselves in an agreement or contract is not determinative of the relationship. In this case, Amazon owned the van the at-fault driver was operating; designed the route he was assigned on the date of the collision; assigned all packages to that route; and monitored the driver through eDriving by Mentor, an application that tracks unsafe driving behavior like speeding, hard braking, cornering, and distracted driving events.

Throughout discovery, we learned that the driver had more than 90 counts of distracted driving in his five months of employment prior to the date of the September 2021 collision—all of which was recorded by the Amazon-required eDriving application and reported to Amazon.

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