Donoghue and a friend were at a café on August 26, 1928, in Glasgow Scotland.
Donoghue’s friend bought her a drink. The drink was ginger beer from the manufacturing
company, Stevenson. The drink was in a dark brown bottle so you couldn’t see
the actual beverage from outside of the bottle. Donoghue drank some of the
drink and her friend poured the remainder of her drink in a tumbler. A
decomposing snail fell out of the bottle and into the tumbler. Donoghue
complained that she felt ill from this and was later sent to the hospital. She
was diagnosed with gastroenteritis.
took legal action against David Stevenson who was the manufacturer of the drink
she consumed. She filed in the Court of Sessions, which is Scotland’s highest
civil court seeking £500 in damages (which is about $840.17 Canadian). She
could not successfully sue Stevenson for breach of contract. Only because she
did not purchase her drink, her friend did. However, Stevenson breached a duty
of his care to his customer’s and consumer’s. He had caused injury through
negligence. Stevenson’s lawyers fought back and Donoghue did not succeed. She
was granted to appeal to the House of Lords.
1932, Lord Atkin declared that Stevenson should be responsible for the well
being of customers that consume his products. As for they can not be inspected
due to their dark bottle. The case was brought back to court, however David
Stevenson passed away before it was finalized. Donoghue was awarded an amount
of damages from his estate.
Neighbour Principle was derived from this case. The Neighbour Principle says
that a person should take reasonable care to avoid omissions or acts that they
can reasonably foresee as likely to cause injury to the neighbour. In this
case, Donoghue didn’t purchase the drink however her friend purchased the drink
and received it as a gift. Donoghue was considered a neighbour. Negligence is
the failure to take proper care in doing something that can result in injury or
damage. The plaintiff (Donoghue) had to show some sort of contract in order for
negligence to be proven. However, she did not physically purchase the drink herself.
So, she could not have proven any sort of contract or agreement with David Stevenson.
However, Lord Atkin’s Neighbour Principle indicated that Stevenson is still
responsible for the well being of Donoghue and his product, the ginger beer.
Stevenson did not have a risk management plan for his products. I am sure his manufacturing
company did not identify any of the four steps on how to avoid legal risks when
working. Stevenson should have made sure that his factory, or area where he was
bottling his beverages was clean from any bugs and that his bottles were clean
and in an area where bugs could not access inside of them. It is clear that Stevenson
did not take any precautions when he was bottling his products. Which is the
reason why he was negligent. In the future, he should have used clear bottles
to see if there was anything wrong with the beverage before a customer could
consume it. Also, he should have made sure his factory was clean from bugs and
that his bottles were clean. If he had followed these precautions, this
incident would have never happened. Stevenson did not identify the legal risks,
evaluate the risks, devise a risk management plan, and he did not implement the
conclusion, because of David Stevenson’s negligence, May Donoghue consumed a
beverage with a decomposing snail and was diagnosed with gastroenteritis. The
case between Donoghue and Stevenson created the Neighbour Principle were a
person should take caution to avoid anything that could possibly injure the neighbour.
Stevenson did not follow any sort of risk management plan which could have
prevented this case.