Negligence

Each student is expected to submit their own answers: no direct copying from each other, from the slides, from the text book, or from the internet. Please complete the assignment by either uploading a file or typing directly into Moodle. Please remember to hit the “submit” button.

The case of Donoghue v Stevenson, 1932 AC 562 (HL) is the case that first established our modern concept of the law of negligence. In 1928, Mrs. Donoghue went to a café with her friend. Mrs. Donoghue’s friend bought a ginger beer for Mrs. Donoghue. Mrs. Donoghue drank most of the ginger beer and then she found a decomposing snail in the bottle. This made her sick. She took the manufacturer of the ginger beer to court and sued him for her injury. The House of Lords (in England) decided that Mr. Stevenson, as a manufacturer, owed Mrs. Donoghue a duty not to injure her. This is because a manufacturer should know that their product, in this case the ginger beer, will eventually be used or consumed by a consumer, in this case Mrs. Donoghue. This is known as the reasonable foreseeability test. This set up the concept of duty of care and confirmed that it extends beyond a contract relationship. (We will address contracts in our next lesson.)

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It probably seems reasonable to you that a company who lets a snail get into a soft-drink should be responsible if that ends up making someone who drinks the snail-contaminated soft-drink sick. But what if there is nothing contaminating the drink, what if it is the drink itself that causes harm? Alcoholic drinks can affect people’s judgement and, unfortunately, people driving while intoxicated have gotten into vehicle accidents causing injury or even death to strangers on the streets. Court have found that businesses and employers owe a duty of care to these strangers if the business/employer knowingly let a patron or worker drive away drunk.

For this assignment, please answer the following questions in your own words:

1) Explain the difference between a duty and a standard of care. (3pts)

2) Explain your understanding of one of the following defences to negligence (2pts):

Contributory Negligence;
Voluntary Assumption of Risk; or
Remoteness.
3) Read the summary of the case of Wardak v Froom, 2017 ONSC 1166 (CanLII) found at this link: https://canliiconnects.org/en/summaries/55109 and explain what you think the case is about (1 pt). Now compare that case to the case of Widdowson v. The Cambie Malone’s Corporation, 2017 BCSC 385 (CanLII), summarized at this link http://www.bcliquorlaw.com/commercial-host-liability-british-columbia/ which found that a commercial host (a pub) could be responsible in negligence for the actions of someone who had earlier become intoxicated at their establishment even after that person made it home. What did the court decide in the Wardak case? (1 pt) Do you agree with the decision in Wardak? Why or why not? (1pt) What about the decision in Widdowson, what did the court decide (1 pt)? Do you agree or disagree with the decision? Why or why not? (1 pt)

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