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The Importance of Handling Lawsuit Documents Promptly

When it comes to commercial litigation, businesses should ensure they have all of their business affairs in order. Any threats for a lawsuit should be taken seriously and not cast aside. Some threats are very real, and sometimes the plaintiffs have valid threats that can cost the business a lot of money. Such is the case with an incident in the Pepsico company. There was an injury lawsuit that resulted from two men in Wisconsin who alleged that Pepsico stole their idea concerning a product known as Aquafina. According to the men, they had presented this idea of bottled, purified tap water to the company back in 1981.

The men had sued Pepsico back in 2009, but somehow the paperwork got lost in a lot of corporate red tape. Thus, Pepsico failed to respond to the lawsuit and ended up having to pay these men $1.26 billion dollars! Of course, Pepsico is fighting this judgment. They are bringing up all kinds of rebuttals, such as the statute of limitations running out for the men to sue anyway. The company also alleged that they didn’t know about the lawsuit in time.

The reasons that Pepsico gave for their objections to the judgment may have actually been valid had they addressed the lawsuit in court when they were supposed to. The irony is that the blame falls into the lap of some secretary who apparently set the letter aside that informed of the lawsuit. This was to prepare for what was a board meeting. However, something as important as this lawsuit should have been taken very seriously, as should be any lawsuit that is served.

All in all, failure to act upon official documents that were served ended up being a very costly mistake. There should always be a system of checks and balances for every official act that occurs in a company. The secretary should not have been the only one accountable for the document not getting seen. It is not known how Pepsico eventually resolved this loss. What is clear, though, is a lesson to all corporations. Every lawsuit, no matter how small it may seem, should be taken lightly.

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