“It’ll Tickle Your Innards”: Mountain Dew’s Mouse Dissolving Defense

Just when you thought litigation could not get more gruesome after the Illinois flying body part case. I just came across articles in this 2009 case where the lawyers for Pepsi came up with a novel defense against a product liability claim of an Illinois man who alleged that he found a dead mouse in his Mountain Dew. Impossible, they insist, because our product would have dissolved any mouse in a can. It is the type of legal argument that wins a case and loses a market. It certainly was consistent with the original slogan of the company: “It’ll Tickle Yore Innards!”

Ronald Ball sued Pepsi in 2009 claiming that he opened a can and “spat out the soda to reveal a dead mouse”. He alleges that “[a]fter purchasing said can of Mountain Dew, he opened the can and immediately became violently ill such that he began to vomit.” He then sent the mouse to Pepsi in a mason jar filled with the leftover Mountain Dew from the can. However, when Ball requested the mouse be returned to him for use as evidence in the civil action and for independent testing, he was denied for a number of months and he says it “destroyed” the remains in testing the animal. His complaint states that “[b]y the time Defendant Pepsico eventually did return said evidence to Plaintiff, the evidence was in deplorable condition from having remained saturated in the liquid for an extended period of time and having been subjected to destructive testing by Defendant Pepsico which severely damaged the head, leg and lung of the mouse, such that the evidence is now unfit for further testing.”

However, Pepsi’s lawyers submitted the testimony of experts that “the mouse would have dissolved in the soda had it been in the can from the time of its bottling until the day the plaintiff drank it” — turning it into a “jelly-like substance.”

The Madison Record reports Ball is suing Pepsico as well as the store Shop N’ Save where he purchased the can. He also added Paul Pohlman, the store manager, as a defendant.

In his ten-count suit, he is alleging breach of warranty and spoliation of evidence and is liable for its defective product. He is demanding medical bills, sustained disability, lost wages and experienced pain and suffering.

The defense reminds me to the argument of the lawyers for the late Dominick Dunne in the Condit libel action that he should not be liable because no one really took his “musings” seriously as fact.

I am interested if anyone knows what happened in this case. I could find no mention after reports of a hearing on the motion to dismiss. I am eager to see if the mouse dissolving defense goes down better in court than in the market.

Madison County District Court case number: 09-L-440.

Source: Yahoo

16 thoughts on ““It’ll Tickle Your Innards”: Mountain Dew’s Mouse Dissolving Defense”

  1. The studies about citric acid are clear and old. That stuff is corrosive. The thing I don’t get is how absolutely obvious it is that this guy is full of it yet the courts have been tied up since 2009. Hello waste of tax dollars.

  2. I am completely unfamiliar with the process of liquifying members of the order rodentia in soft drinks, but I do remember hearing in seventh grade that putting an aspirin in a girl’s coke would render her more amenable to my attentions. Unfortunately, I never had the nerve to test that hypothesis.

  3. tom,

    I saw that story too and the true irony is that the major theme of the X-men is “mutants are people too, damn it!” It just goes to show you how fast equality can go out the window if a buck is involved. Then again, that’s one of those ridiculous tax code issues that no one, human or mutant, should have to put up with. What I’d like to know is the legislative history behind that code. Someone wanted a higher tariff on human dolls and paid a lobbyist to get it. I wonder who? Mattel and Hasbro . . . looking your direction.

  4. I am putting 12 ounces of Mountain Dew into a bottle with a mouse we just took out of a trap at work at Loews. I will report back when the mouse has dissolved what I perceive to be 50% and later when it is nothing but Mountain Dew.
    Hmmmm. The Mountain Dew which just poured out of the can and into the clear bottle is a but mushy and thick and sort of …mousey.

  5. Did not know Mr. Dunne had shuffled off his mortal coil. Missed that celebration I guess.

    My dad used to use Coke-cola to clear the basement drain, he never allowed us to drink the stuff. I don’t see how you could get a mouse out of the can given the small opening in the pop-top. I guess they could put a mouse in a tub of the crap & see how long it took to mush up, my guess is they are right.

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