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Can an app be sued for product liability?

When we think of dangerous products, things like toys or appliances usually come to mind.

However, a new lawsuit is aiming to add digital products into the mix. But how can something without a physical product be harmful?

How apps can harm

The app in question is dating app Grindr. A New York man claims the app allowed his ex-boyfriend to create several profiles to stalk and harass him. The ex allegedly sent strangers to his work and his home address over a dozen times.

The man filed multiple police complaints and reached out to the developers of Grindr but the harassment continued. In 2017, the man filed a suit alleging that by releasing the app without protections against harassment or bullying, Grindr's parent company had negligently created a dangerous product.

Grindr has said that the suit unfairly skirts free-speech laws and that they handle harassment on a case-by-case basis. Can an app be considered a product?

Redefining product liability

Traditionally, product liability has been used to protect consumers from dangerous physical products. Victims of defective products that had entered the marketplace could target them with these lawsuits. Product liability helps mitigate the damages caused and help keep consumers safe.

Is an app that has no physical presence a liability? That's the question that a federal appeals court will try to answer in the upcoming months.

If the case moves forward, customers may be able to hold app developers to the same standards as physical manufacturers.

Protecting consumers from further harm

Product liability helps protect people from harmful products. Safety should be the top priority of all products. If something isn't meeting those standards, a skilled attorney can help hold its company accountable.

If a negligent product has injured you or someone you know, it's important to prevent others from suffering in the same way.

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