Alibaba sued over Bay Area man’s death from fire caused by printer

By Robert Burnson | Bloomberg

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. was sued by the parents of a San Francisco man who died when a 3D printer he bought from the retailer’s US portal caught fire in 2020.

Calvin Yu’s parents fault the giant online retailer for selling a printer that they said it knew, or should have known, was defective. They also sued the makers of the printer, the Chinese electronic firm Tronxy Technology Co.

Customers are increasingly attempting to hold online marketplaces responsible for the goods sold through their sites, even by third-party sellers. Amazon.com Inc. has faced dozens of product-liability claims in recent years from people harmed by products sold through its site.

Amazon instituted a new policy in September, saying it would pay shoppers for injury or property claims of less than $1,000, and in some cases more than that, even as it argued in court that’s it’s not liable.

Yu bought the printer in November 2019 from Alibaba’s US portal, AliExpress, the parents said in the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in state court in San Francisco. He used the printer as intended at home, they said.

Fire investigators “concluded that the fire was caused by the above-mentioned 3D printer, overheating and igniting the couch,” the parents said. Yu was found dead in the apartment.

The case is Yu v. Alibaba Group US Inc., CGC22600050, California Superior Court (San Francisco)

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©2022 Bloomberg LP

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