Jack Strauss

Since pregnancy cannot be made retroactive, Daisy-Mae decided to play it safe and bought a contraceptive pill that was advertised as being "virtually 100% protection." Needless to say, shortly thereafter, 100% protected Daisy-Mae became pregnant. And, when she found it difficult to believe, the company that manufactured the pill had to believe it when Daisy-Mae sued the company for her having become heir-conditioned.

"I bought the pill that was represented to be 'virtually 100% protection,'" she complained in court, "and it wasn't."

"We never guaranteed anything to anybody," responded the attorney for the manufacturer of the pill. "While we may have promoted our product as being 'virtually 100% effective', women are funny people. There is the rare one that doesn't react to drugs the way they are supposed to. Daisy-Mae, obviously, happens to be one of the rare ones. The fact that she got pregnant," concluded the attorney, "wasn't our fault... it was her's".

If you were the judge, would you hold the manufacturer of the anti-pregnancy pill liable for Daisy-Mae's having gotten pregnant?

This is how the judge ruled: No! The judge held that the word "virtually" doesn't mean "absolutely"; that, therefore, there was no guarantee that the pill would prevent pregnancy. Furthermore, noted the judge, courts are reluctant to hold a manufacturer responsible for the rare and unusual person who, as an exceptional case, doesn't react to the otherwise safe drug.

-- based on a 1971 United States District Court decision

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