Tutorial8BusinessLaw - Tutorial 8 Business Law TEAM A...

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Tutorial 8 Business Law TEAM A Question 1 FACTS On 9th April 1929 Mrs. Mary M’Alister or Donoghue brought an action against David Stevenson aerated water manufacturer Paisley, in which she claimed £500 as damages for injuries sustained by her through drinking ginger beer which had been manufactured by the defender. Mrs. Donoghue and her friend went to a shop occupied by Francis Minchella, and known as Wellmeadow Café, at Wellmeadow Place, Paisley where the friend purchased ice cream, and ginger beer suitable to be used with the ice cream as an iced drink. for Mrs. Donoghue to drink. Mrs. Donoghue had no direct or indirect claim against the manufacturer based on contractual obligations because she did not purchase the product. The ginger beer was contained in an opaque bottle that prevented the contents from being viewed clearly. Mrs. Donoghue consumed some of the product after which the decomposed remains of a snail emerged from the bottle when the remaining ginger beer was poured into her glass. She sought damages against the manufacturer, Stevenson, from the resulting nervous shock and gastro- enteritis, which she claimed was caused through the incident. The trial judge found that the plaintiff could bring an action. The Court of Appeal overturned this decision. The plaintiff appealed to the House of Lords. PRINCIPLES LAID DOWN IN DONOGHUE v. STEVENSON It has been said that the case of Donoghue v. Stevenson laid down or settled four main principles of law: 1. Negligence is a distinct tort. The decision settled that negligence as a tort or civil wrong, stood by itself and that it could be actionable in any circumstances in which one person suffered personal injury or physical property damage as a direct, close and foreseeable result of the act or omission of another. Litigants do not have to rely on special relationships to prove their cases nor is negligence a dependent component of other torts. 2. A contract is not necessary. Ironically, while at the time of Donoghue, plaintiffs sought to hang their hats on any contract they could, today often the opposite is the case, such as plaintiffs suing in tort for damages in order to avoid restrictions imposed upon them by contracts they have entered into. 3. Manufacturer’s liability. The actual decision in Donoghue v. Stevenson, or the ratio decidendi, related to the imposition of liability on manufacturers under certain narrow (by today’s standards) conditions. In the words of Lord Atkin: “. .. a manufacturer of products, which he sells in such a form as to show that he intends them to reach the ultimate consumer in the form in which they left him with no reasonable possibility of intermediate examination, and with the knowledge that the absence of reasonable care in the preparation or putting up of the products will result in an injury to the consumer’s life or property, owes a duty to the consumer to take that reasonable care.”
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This note was uploaded on 11/06/2009 for the course BUSI BUSI 1003 taught by Professor Woods during the Spring '09 term at HKU.

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Tutorial8BusinessLaw - Tutorial 8 Business Law TEAM A...

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