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When Ronald Ball took a swig from a can of Mountain Dew he pulled from a vending machine at work, he didn’t yell “Yahoo!” like in the old TV commercials.
Instead, he ran to the men’s room and spit out a mouthful of mouse.
Mr. Ball is suing PepsiCo Inc., makers of Mountain Dew, as well as Pepsi’s bottling arm, in Madison County Circuit Court in Edwardsville, Ill., seeking damages in excess of $75,000 in connection with his disturbing find. Mr. Ball also sued the owners of the Wood River, Ill., Shop N’Save chain where the soda was purchased, but those defendants have since been dropped from the case.
PepsiCo responded to Mr. Ball’s suit last April with expert testimony asserting that the mouse should have either dissolved or transformed into a “jelly-like substance” in the acidic soft drink between the time it was bottled in August 2008 and when it was opened in November 2009.
According to court documents, “By 30 days of exposure to the fluid, all of the mouse’s structures will disintegrate to the point where the structures (excepting possibly a portion of the tail) will not be recognizable and, therefore, the animal itself will not be recognizable. Instead, after 30 days in the fluid, the mouse will have been transformed into a ‘jelly-like’ substance.”
But Mr. Ball has witnesses who can attest to the mouse’s preservation, according to his lawyer, Samantha Unsell, an associate at the law firm of Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. P.C. in Belleville, Ill.
After returning from the men’s room on that fateful November day, Mr. Ball emptied the can into a Styrofoam cup in front of coworkers to show them the surprise inside, she told Business Insurance. And though he initially handed over the mouse to PepsiCo to prove his claim, it was later returned to Mr. Ball’s custody so that it could be used in court, she said.
In response to the PepsiCo expert testimony, Mr. Ball’s lawyers filed an amended complaint on Nov. 21 and are awaiting a trial date.