Tuesday March 26th 2019Tim
Issues...." As an understatement, it does strike the
kind of chord the organ of a cathedral might produce for
a scene in a Frankenstein movie. I would have gone for
"Tricky Business," but the only legalese that's fun to
read is a Casebook of Torts. One case called Donoghue
and Stevenson, 1932, the British House of Lords
established a Duty to Care. Mr. Stevenson was a
manufacturer of Ginger Beer. Mrs. Donoghue was having a
day out and she chose to purchase a bottle of Mr.
Stevenson's Ginger Beer in a Cafe, and half way through
drinking that bottle of Ginger Beer Mrs. Donoghue
discovered the bottle contained a Snail. The Snail, Mrs.
Donoghue claimed, made her very ill.
Torts are about Mens Rea, Guilty
Mind, a case law of how intention or knowledge of wrong
doing has been demonstrated by lawyers in the courts. The
Duty to Care was an onus on the defendant. He had an
obligation to actually care whether there were snails in
his bottle of Ginger Beer. As the case wound through the
mysteries of a court system where principal actors in
the drama of the court room wear wigs, the case finally
found its way back to the local level where it was
determined to try the case on the Facts. The local court
was unable to decide with certainty that there was
actually a snail in the bottle of Ginger Beer. Either
way, after Mr. Stevenson died the case was settled out
of court. His estate parted with 200 pounds sterling
instead of the claim for 500 pounds.