Bloomberg Law
Jan. 3, 2023, 6:54 PM

Amazon Loses Bid to End Lawsuit Over Orders Tied to Suicides

Kaustuv Basu
Kaustuv Basu
Reporter Inc.'s effort to end a lawsuit accusing it of selling a deadly chemical that two people used to kill themselves has been rejected by a Washington judge.

Judge Josephine Wiggs of King County Superior Court denied Amazon’s motion to dismiss Friday. The court can now examine questions around whether online marketplaces such as Amazon can be held liable for selling products directly or through third parties.

The lawsuit involves the deaths of Tyler Muhleman, 17, and Mikael Scott, 27, after consuming sodium nitrite, a chemical they ordered from the Amazon website. Lawyers representing the families said that the chemical has no obvious household use in its virtually pure form and could only be used to kill themselves.

“The decision is vindicating for our clients,” said Carrie Goldberg of C.A. Goldberg PLLC, a law firm that has brought two lawsuits on the issue against Amazon so far.

The families’ lawyers say Amazon continued selling virtually pure sodium nitrite even after being warned that customers were using it to harm themselves.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment. The company previously told Bloomberg Law that it started restricting the sale of the chemical in October to buyers on its Amazon Business marketplace to minimize potential misuse.

A company spokesperson said at the time that “pure” sodium nitrite isn’t intended for direct consumption and “unfortunately, like many products, it can be misused.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kaustuv Basu in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernie Kohn at