Pepsi Co is the victim of its own bureaucracy in a Wisconsin case that ended in a default judgement earlier this month.
The background is simple enough. Two Wisconsin men sued Pepsi in June for allegedly misappropriating trade secrets from confidential talks and using them to make and sell Aquafina. The men served Pepsi at its North Carolina headquarters. Then things went a bit haywire. Pepsi says that its agent in North Carolina failed to deliver the notice to their legal headquarters in New York until mid September. The papers were delivered to Deputy General Counsel Tom Tamoney, but his secretary set them aside because she was busy preparing for a board meeting. Tamoney didn’t see the papers until early October, after a Wisconsin judge entered a default judgement against the company.
Pepsi has asked the court to vacate the judgement, saying that the suit should be barred based on the Statute of Limitations and claiming that the interests of justice have been violated. Although Wisconsin courts are hesitant to vacate default judgements in general, the judge also has to option to litigate the damages portion of the case.