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Donoghue v. Stevenson

[1932] AC 562

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Donoghue v. Stevenson

House of Lords

[1932] AC 562

Facts

While at a café in Scotland, Donoghue (plaintiff) drank from a dark, opaque glass bottle of ginger beer that was purchased for her by her friend. The beer was manufactured by Stevenson (defendant). After Donoghue had consumed about half of the bottle, she claimed her friend poured the remainder into a tumbler and that is when the decomposed remains of a snail floated out and nauseated Donoghue and caused her shock and severe gastroenteritis. Because Donoghue was not the purchaser of the ginger beer, she could not sue Stevenson for breach of contract. Instead, Donoghue sued Stevenson for breaching a duty of reasonable care she alleged he owed to ginger-beer consumers to ensure that his beer was manufactured and inspected in a manner that would not allow snails to get into the bottles. The first judge to decide this case found for Donoghue, but the next court disagreed and dismissed the case. Donoghue appealed to the House of Lords.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lord Atkin, J.)

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