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Donna-hue v Stevenson? Woman called Donna finds dead lizard in her beer bottle

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A modern take on the tort law classic

Image via Donna Metcalfe

A Kiwi woman can now empathise with the claimant behind classic tort law case Donoghue v Stevenson after she too found a nasty in her beer bottle. Oh, and she’s called Donna.

Over 80 years since the birth of the tort of negligence, Donna Metcalfe sat down with her husband last weekend to “see what was on Sky and have a beer.”

However Donna, from Christchurch, got an unwanted surprise when she allegedly found a decomposing Australian lizard in her Pure Blonde bottle. She told New Zealand news site stuff:

I was drinking it and not paying it any attention, and something touched my mouth. It looked like a little baby lizard and I instantly… thought ‘oh, you’ve got to be joking me’.

Donna — who believe it or not works for an accidental injury compensation scheme — took to Facebook that same weekend to deplore Pure Blonde. She sent the company a public message, which read:

Thanks for the dead lizard at the bottom of my beer! What are your quality controls?

Donna said she feared she’d be severely ill because the beer had been bottled in Australia, home of many poisonous animals. Mrs Donoghue, from Scotland, notably suffered severe gastroenteritis and shock after she famously found a decomposing snail in her bottle of ginger beer.

Hopefully Donna’s managed to avoid severe poisoning, but she has said she felt “really sick” when she saw the lizard and has since lost about two kilograms in body weight. She added:

I’m really disgusted that their quality control didn’t pick it up, and that I drank a beer with a decomposing lizard in it. And I’m really worried about my health.

The beer in question is bottled by Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), whose corporate affairs advisor, Sabine Wolff, said:

We have reached out to the consumer to understand the facts and check to see if she has any health issues. CUB is undertaking a thorough internal investigation of the issue to determine the facts.

Though there’s no word on whether Donna will be suing over this incident, Legal Cheek wonders whether Metcalfe v CUB could soon be the modern Donoghue v Stevenson.

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21 Comments

Anonymous

Just an aside, but why is it acceptable to describe someone from New Zealand as a Kiwi, when other similar fruit based descriptions of those originating from other countries are completely (and obviously) wrong?

(8)(12)

Anonymous

why u such a lychee?

(22)(1)

Anonymous

Such an apple!

(0)(6)

Anonymous

Don’t be a melon.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

What a mango.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Complete durian

(0)(0)

Anonymous

The “kiwi” is a reference to a NZ bird, not the fruit.

Which I only found out about a year ago…

Love, from a limey.

(18)(1)

Anonymous

I’m not “swallow”ing that…

(2)(0)

Anonymous

I can’t believe that anyone with more than half a brain thinks that ‘kiwi’ (in almost any context) is a reference to fruit.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

I’ve had an hemispherectomy and even I know better.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Wasn’t the whole point about the original case, that Mrs D did NOT find a snail in her beer bottle ?? The HL decided – as a preliminary issue – that she had a cause of action in tort, but at trial she failed to establish that there had been a snail. So Donna has scored a first here !

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Stevenson died pre-trial, and the executors settled the case. It was never heard by the Court after the HoL decision.

This is more of a “legal urban myth.”

(1)(2)

Anonymous

No doubt driven to his grave by persistent aggressive letters from newly-formed PI and product liability claimant firms.

(2)(1)

Interloper

She. Like the inestimable (and frequently incorrect) Not Amused, she too was of the female persuasion…

(0)(0)

Anonymous

But (Mr) Stevenson was said to have died pre-trial, not (Mrs) Donoghue.

(1)(0)

Interloper

Ah, beg pard..

(0)(0)

Anonymous

You’re right about the AWOL Not Amused though.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

It was a Scottish case, so how did ‘tort’ come into it?

(1)(1)

Interloper

Because it reached the House of Lords and “*by Scots and English law alike* a manufacturer of products, which he sells in such a form as to show that he intends them to reach the ultimate consumer ….etc” (per Lord Atkin).

Do I get a First ?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

“[S]omething touched my mouth…I instantly… thought ‘oh, you’ve got to be joking me’.”

I call bullshit. No way would that be anyone’s first thought.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

You can’t sue in negligence for physical injury (you can for pure economic loss, particularly around negligent construction and inspection, which is quite the opposite to England as I understand) in New Zealand due to the Accident Compensation scheme. See the ACC Act s317.

(0)(0)

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