Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Secretarial Mistake Costs Pepsi $1.26 Billion

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the cost-of-a-new-generation dept.

Idle 11

9gezegen writes "Pepsi learned that if it wants to continue to 'Refresh Everything,' it needs an extra $1.26 billion. It looks like one of the secretaries forget to inform company lawyers about a trade secrets case in a Wisconsin state court. When nobody arrived to court, the judge gave $1.26 billion default judgement. According to Pepsi lawyers, they were not properly served because the secretary was 'so busy preparing for a board meeting.' One might imagine she was working on the refreshments. Perhaps Pepsi should learn more about the Spamhaus case."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Right. It was the *secretary's* fault (2, Informative)

word munger (550251) | more than 4 years ago | (#29926377)

It couldn't possibly be *management's* fault for creating a system in which a clerical error can result in a $billion-plus loss.

Re:Right. It was the *secretary's* fault (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#29947002)

I've been staring at PHP for too long .. my mind went 'but I never dedclared what $billion is??'

Ehh (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29929943)

Default judgments are easy to get vacated.

Bad service? (2, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#29945328)

Someone who is a lawyer correct me if I'm wrong, but this is a terrible argument. I mean, if the secretary is an agent of the company who is authorized to receive communications on the company's behalf, then wouldn't service to a secretary be good enough?

Re:Bad service? (1)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946272)

There is an overwhelming tendency for courts to set aside defaults in favor of deciding a case on its merits. Unless the defendant has actually decided not to present a defense, issuing a default judgment subverts the purpose of the justice system, and is an undesirable result. Default judgments are intended to allow worthy plaintiffs to recover when a defendant refuses to participate in the legal process. So, even if this service is likely technically proper, the court will use any possible excuse to overturn the default and actually litigate the case. With that said, there may actually be serious questions about the validity of service in this case. In most states, service on a corporation must be made to the registered agent, an individual designated to receive all official communications. If this was simply sent to the corporate headquarters and received by a secretary, that is not likely to be legally proper service.

Re:Bad service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29950860)

Default judgments are intended to allow worthy plaintiffs to recover when a defendant refuses to participate in the legal process.

so if they don't participate, how are you supposed to get the money from them?

Re:Bad service? (2, Informative)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#29954584)

Default judgments are intended to allow worthy plaintiffs to recover when a defendant refuses to participate in the legal process.

so if they don't participate, how are you supposed to get the money from them?

This happens all the time. A Sheriff goes down the the company headquarters (or main branch in that state/city) and starts auctioning off items owned by the company.

In one case, when I was living in Austin TX, the sheriff came into a restaurant and took all the money out of the register. Then he waited as people paid their bills, and took that money too. When he had collected enough money to pay the debt, he chased everyone out, and sealed the doors.

Lawyers? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 4 years ago | (#29951566)

I've never tested the theory, but if a company actually has a proper legal dept, I'm fairly sure I can't just plop down a court summons on the secretary's desk in a nondescript envelope.

The story is light on details though.

Overall, is the idea of "let's sell bottled water" worth several billion. It hardly seems unique...

I don't believe this (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29948914)

I don't believe this. Secretaries aren't the only source of information. The simply "shot the pianist" in order to cover up their incompetence. She should sue them for libel. Perhaps a $100 million lawsuit?

Re:I don't believe this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29950954)

Exactly! And then conveniently forget to pass on the message about the suit.

Trade secrets of bottling water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29964872)

With the caveat that there's a whole lot I don't know about the case: "The suit itself stems from two men claiming that they presented PepsiCo with the idea to sell purified water. These two men are Charles Joyce and James Voigt, who had met with the company to discuss the idea. The allegation was that PepsiCo then turned around and used those ideas to develop and sell Aquafina bottled water, which has made billions as an additional brand name under PepsiCo."

This is like the f-ing bonanza, that you present a business case to Pepsi about them selling bottled water, which they later do, and getting $1.26bn. Or even several hundred million. I'm surprised that Pepsi agreed to listen to the presentation of the case in the first place, given the obvious potential for a situation like this.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?