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Secretarial Mistake Costs Pepsi $1.26 Billion 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."


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Secretarial Mistake Costs Pepsi $1.26 Billion

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  • by word munger ( 550251 ) <dsmunger@gm a i l.com> on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:50PM (#29926377) Homepage Journal
    It couldn't possibly be *management's* fault for creating a system in which a clerical error can result in a $billion-plus loss.
  • by nomadic ( 141991 )
    Default judgments are easy to get vacated.
  • Bad service? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Sunday November 01, 2009 @07:19PM (#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?

    • 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 ov
    • 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. 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?

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.