Last Christmas, I enjoyed blogging about South Carolina warnings law and food products, including posting the infamous dry turkey scene from the holiday classic, "Christmas Vacation." As the holiday season is upon us, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit this topic on a broader scale by doing a survey of South Carolina products liability law in the context of case law involving food and drink. The Chinese turkey scene from "A Christmas Story" seemed like an appropriate way to begin this topic. Can Ralphie's dad recover if he is traumatized by a turkey "smiling" at him?
(Before we tackle this age old question and dive into this area of law, allow me one caveat. This analysis does not include a review of "food" cases where the food at issue was consumed by livestock, pigs, household pets, or other non-humans. Although I do not deny that these cases implicate products liability law, that is a post for another day).
South Carolina's general food/beverage case law appears to break down into the following categories: exploding beverage bottles, "hard" substances in food, food containing a wayward insect, and otherwise spoiled/adulterated food that leads to someone becoming sick.
Let's tackle the first topic in today's post.
♪ ♫ On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...A BOTTLE THAT EXPLODED! ♪ ♫
But in cases where compensation is sought for injury caused by such explosion, the rule established by this court is that when it is made to appear that other bottles filled by the same bottler, under similar circumstances, about the same time, have exploded, there is afforded some evidence of negligence sufficient to be submitted to the jury, as it would thus form the basis for the permissible inference that the bottler had not exercised that degree of care required of him under the circumstances. And this court has been careful, before permitting plaintiff's case to be submitted to the jury, to require that plaintiff offer evidence of other instances of bottles filled by defendant exploding under "substantially similar circumstances and reasonable proximity in time."