Fact of the case :
In the instant case, the plaintiff accompanied by a friend went to a cafe in paisley for refreshments. and they ordered two slices of ice-cream and a bottle of ginger-beer. Each slab of ice-cream was placed in a tumbler over which was then poured part of the contents of the ginger-beer. This ginger-beer was served in a stoppered bottle of dark opaque glass and had been manufactured by the defendant, Stevenson.
After the plaintiff had finished some of the ice-cream, her friend attempted to refill the glass by pouring into it the remains of the contents of the bottle. As she was doing this, the remains of the decomposed snail (which had found its way into the bottle at the factory) floated out.
The plaintiff pleaded that as a result of the nauseating sight of the snail and the impurities of the ginger-beer which she had already consumed she suffered from shock and severe gastroenteritis.
The house of Lord's held the defendant liable by stating that the manufacturer of an article of food, medicine or the like sold by him to a distributor in circumstances which prevent the distributor or the ultimate purchaser or consumer from discovering by inspection any defect, is under a legal duty to the ultimate purchaser or consumer to take reasonable care that the article is free from defect likely to cause injury to health.
Lord Atkin laid down the following rule in this case :
"Everyone must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which he can reasonably forsee would be likely to injure his neighbor".
Donoghue V/s. Stevenson became an authority for 2 propositions namely:
1. It established negligence as an independent tort and
2. That the absence of privity of contract between the plaintiff and the defendant does not preclude, under certain circumstances, the liability of tort for breach of the duty of care.