Sunday 26th August 1928 May Donoghue, nee McAllister, met her friend at Wellmeadow Café, Her friend ordered a pear and ice for herself and an ice cream float (a mix of ice cream and ginger beer) for Donoghue.
The owner of the café Francis Minchella brought over a tumbler of ice cream and poured on it ginger beer from a brown and opaque bottle labelled “D. Stevenson, Glen Lane Paisley”. Donoghue drank some of the ice cream float.
However when Donoghue’s friend lifted the bottle to pour the remainder of the ginger beer into the tumbler, it was alleged that a partially decomposed snail floated out of the bottle with the ginger beer and fell into the tumbler.
On the 9th April 1929 Donoghue brought an action against David Stevenson, an aerated water manufacturer in Paisley, in which she claimed £500 as damages for injuries sustained by her through drinking the ginger beer.