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Thomas v. Winchester
New York Court of Appeals
6 N.Y. 397 (1852)
Winchester (defendant) was a manufacturer of plant extracts used for medicinal purposes. Winchester sold the extracts he made as well as extracts Winchester purchased from others. On both types of extracts, Winchester placed a label stating that the extract had been “prepared by A. Gilbert,” an employee of Winchester. Winchester sold a bottle labeled as dandelion extract to Aspinwall, a druggist. Aspinwall sold the bottle to Dr. Foord. Dr. Foord provided the bottle to his patient, Mary Ann Thomas (plaintiff). Contrary to its labeling, the bottle did not contain dandelion extract. Instead, it contained belladonna, a poison. The bottle’s contents were administered to Thomas, and she became very sick, putting her life in danger for a short time. Thomas sued Winchester, alleging negligence. Winchester defended by arguing that he was not in privity with Thomas and also that Aspinwall and Dr. Foord shared the blame. A jury found for Thomas. Winchester appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Ruggles, C.J.)
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