Prof. Jeong Chun Phuoc
Assignment 2 – Weekly Case Law Critique
WEEK 2 CASE LAW ON
DONOGHUE V STEVENSON (1932)
On August 26th 1928, Donoghue (plaintiff) and a friend were at a case in Glasgow, Scotland. Her friend ordered / purchased a bottle of ginger beer for Donoghue. The bottle was in an opaque bottle (dark glass material) as Donoghue was not aware of the contents. After, Donoghue drank some and her friend lifted the bottle to pour the remainder of the ginger beer into the glass. A remains of a snail in a state of decomposition dropped out of the bottle into the glass. Donoghue later complained of stomach pain and was diagnosed with gastroenteritis and being in a state of severe shock by a doctor. Donoghue subsequently took legal action seeking £500 damages against the manufacturer of the ginger beer,
Stevenson (Defendant). She was unsuccessful at trial and appealed the decision to the House of Lords.
1. Is there liability in negligence for injury caused by another in the absence of a contract?
2. Does the manufacturer of a product owe duty of care to the consumer to take reasonable care that the product is free from defect?
The issue was complex because her friend had purchased the drink, and that a contract had not been breached. So Donoghue’s lawyers had to claim that Stevenson had a duty of care to his consumers and that he had caused injury through negligence. The leading judgement, delivered by Lord Atkin in 1932, concluded that Stevenson should be responsible for the well-being of individuals who consumes their product. Among the reasons given by the judges that is related to the issues above:
1. Le Lievre v Gould established that "under certain circumstances, one man may owe a duty of care to another, even though there is no contract between them”
2. Negligence claims can be brought against people who owe you a duty of care.
3. A manufacturer has a duty of care to the ultimate consumer if either the
References: Donoghue v Stevenson (1932). Taylor, Martin R. (2008). "The Most Famous Litigant". Donoghue v Stevenson Digital Resources. SCLR - Resources - Donoghue v. Stevenson Case Report. 2015. SCLR - Resources - Donoghue v. Donoghue v Stevenson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2015. Donoghue v Stevenson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Donoghue v Stevenson - Case Brief Wiki. 2015. Donoghue v Stevenson - Case Brief Wiki. [ONLINE] Available at: http://casebrief.wikia.com/wiki/Donoghue_v_Stevenson