Summary of Donogue v. Stevenson

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Summary of Donogue v. Stevenson

The case mainly boarders on Duty of care and it has been a Locus Classicus case in law cited in topics like Negligence, among other topics 

In Donoghue v Stevenson, a manufacturer of Ginger Beer sold his product to a retailer, the retailer resold it to a lady who bought it for a friend of hers who was the plaintiff in the case.  The plaintiff had consume most of the ginger beer when she noticed the decomposed remains of a snail in the beer.  She became so sick that she had to be hospitalized and sued the manufacturer for damages in respect of her injury.  The manufacturer claimed that there was no contractual relationship between it and the consumer and for that reason the plaintiff is not entitled to an action.


Other Facts

LORD ATKIN made a definition of the duty of care, when it existed and to whom it could be owed. The foreseeability test was laid down in the rule and it is known as “the neighbourhood principle”. He said in his famous dictum that;

“the rule that you are to love your neighbour becomes in law, you must not injure your neighbour; and the lawyer’s question, ‘who is my neighbour’? receives a restricted reply. You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who then in law is my neighbour? The answer seems to be persons who are so closely and directly affected by my acts that I ought to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question”


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