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Livingston v. Marie Callender's, Inc.

85 Cal. Rptr. 2d 528 (1999)

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Livingston v. Marie Callender’s, Inc.

California Court of Appeal

85 Cal. Rptr. 2d 528 (1999)

Facts

David Livingston (plaintiff) had asthma, and the ingestion of monosodium glutamate (MSG) could cause him serious adverse reactions. Livingston went to a restaurant owned by Marie Callender’s, Inc. (defendant) for lunch. Livingston told his server about his asthma and asked whether the vegetable soup contained MSG. The server incorrectly told Livingston that the soup did not have MSG. Livingston ate the soup and suffered MSG Symptom Complex, causing respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, and brain damage. Livingston sued Marie Callender’s, asserting claims for strict liability and negligence, among other claims. Livingston’s strict-liability claim alleged that because the soup contained MSG, it was defective and unfit for human consumption. The trial court dismissed Livingston’s claims except for his negligence claim. After trial, the jury completed a special-verdict form in which the jury found Marie Callender’s was not negligent. Livingston appealed, arguing that Marie Callender’s failure to warn him of the presence of MSG made Marie Callender’s strictly liable.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Turner, J.)

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