Donohue v. Stevenson
Case Summary and Full Case Study
From Wikipedia, Donoghue v Stevenson - Wikipedia,  AC 562. (The Advocacy Club made a donation to the Wikimedia Foundation.)
On the evening of Sunday, August 26, 1928, during the Glasgow Trades Holiday, May Donoghue took a train to Paisley, Renfrewshire. In Paisley, she went to the Wellmeadow Café. A friend, who was with her, ordered a pear and ice for herself. As for Donoghue, she asked for a Scotsman ice cream float, a mix of ice cream and ginger beer. The owner of the café, Francis Minchella, brought over a tumbler of ice cream and poured ginger beer on it from a brown and opaque bottle labelled “D. Stevenson, Glen Lane, Paisley”. Although the bottle was labelled as Stevenson’s, … it is possible it did not originally belong to him. Bottles were often reused and in the process occasionally returned to the incorrect manufacturer. Moreover, Stevenson initially claimed he did not issue bottles matching the description provided by Donoghue.
Donoghue drank some of the ice cream float. However, when her friend poured the remaining ginger beer into the tumbler, a decomposed snail also floated out of the bottle. Donoghue claimed that she felt ill from this sight, complaining of abdominal pain. According to her later statements of facts, she was required to consult a doctor on August 29 and was admitted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for “emergency treatment” on September 16. She was subsequently diagnosed with severe gastroenteritis and shock.
The ginger beer had been manufactured by David Stevenson, who ran a company producing both ginger beer and lemonade at 11 and 12 Glen Lane, Paisley, less than a mile away from the Wellmeadow Café. The contact details for the ginger beer manufacturer were on the bottle label and recorded by Donoghue’s friend.