Amazon Sold Defective Solar Eclipse Glasses, New Suit Says

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By Julie A. Steinberg

Amazon sold unsafe solar eclipse glasses and didn’t adequately publicize a recall, according to a proposed class suit by a South Carolina couple who say their eyes were damaged watching the eclipse through faulty glasses ( Payne v. Amazon.com, Inc. , D.S.C., No. 17-2313, complaint 8/29/17 ).

Thomas Corey Payne and Kayla Harris seek money damages and a medical monitoring program to detect and treat eye injury caused by exposure to the sun.

Amazon attempted to recall the glasses via an Aug. 19 email to buyers saying the glasses might not have come from a recommended manufacturer, the Aug. 29 complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina says.

The retailer offered a refund and recommended that customers not use the glasses to watch the eclipse, the plaintiffs say. But Amazon failed to disclose either the scale of the recall or a public list of affected vendors, the suit says.

Nearly half of the 323 million people in the U.S. reportedly watched or viewed the Aug. 21 eclipse, the complaint says.

The event’s popularity created an economic boom for makers of eclipse glasses, the plaintiffs say.

Payne bought a three-pack of eclipse glasses from Amazon and gave one pair to his fiancee, Harris.

They didn’t receive notice of the recall from Amazon.

Both used the glasses to view the eclipse. Both say they later experienced dark spots in their line of vision, blurriness, a central blind spot, and changes in color perception, all symptoms of solar damage.

Payne and Harris seek to represent all persons in the U.S., or alternatively all in South Carolina, who bought unsafe eclipse glasses from Amazon’s website before Aug. 21.

Amazon said in an email that it doesn’t comment on litigation.

McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC and others represent the plaintiff.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie A. Steinberg in Washington at jsteinberg@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com

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