Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Donoghue v Stevenson case brief

Donoghue v Stevenson case brief summary
[1932] AC 562

-On August 26, 1928 Donoghue and a friend were at a cafe in Glasgow.
-Donoghue's companion ordered a bottle of ginger beer for Donoghue.
-The ginger beer was in an opaque bottle.
-Donoghue drank some and her friend lifted the bottle to pour the remainder of the ginger beer into the tumbler. 
-The remains of a snail in a state of decomposition dropped out of the bottle into the tumbler. 
-Donoghue later complained of stomach pain and her doctor diagnosed her as having gastroenteritis and being in a state of severe shock. 
-Donoghue sued Stevenson, the manufacturer of the drink, for negligence. 
-She was unsuccessful at trial and appealed the decision to the House of Lords.

Is there liability in negligence for injury caused by another in the absence of a contract?

Yes.  The court allowed the appeal.

-The majority states that in these kind of cases, the manufacturer does owe a duty of care to future consumers. 
-A manufacturer knows upon production that the overall goal of their product is to be consumed, and not simply to be purchased by a distributor.
-The court states that Winterbottom does not apply here, as that case dealt with a claim of breach of contract. There was no contract in this case.
-The judges held that this does not mean that there cannot be a relationship between the two parties in which duty is owed. 
-They also state that absence of a contract between the two parties this does not mean that a duty is not owed. 
-Overall, the court found that in cases like this where the manufacturers are manufacturing goods for the eventual consumption of consumers, they do have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that their products are safe for consumption.

-Lords Buckmaster and Tomlin, in the dissent, state that the common law principles cannot be changed and that to allow this appeal would change too much.
-The dissent states that there can be no special duty attaching to the manufacture of food apart from that implied by contract or imposed by statute.

Interested in learning how to get the top grades in your law school classes? Want to learn how to study smarter than your competition? Interested in transferring to a high ranked school?

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Evolution of Legal Marketing: From Billboards to Digital Leads Over the last couple of decades, the face of legal marketing has changed a l...