Lynne Marek from the National Law Journal reported yesterday that Pepsi had lost a $1.26 billion default judgment to two Wisconsin men. The two plaintiffs alleged that Pepsi used ideas and information stolen from the men to develop their Aquafina brand of bottled water. That's a pretty big verdict, but what's even scarier is it was a default judgement. That's right - Pepsi lost because they didn't bother showing up to court.
Pepsi's excuse for not coming to court? The secretary who received notification of the lawsuit simply put the letter aside because she was busy preparing for an upcoming Board meeting. I sure hope that Board meeting was full of important, profit-generating agenda items like a presentation on "Fool-proof ways to make $1.26 billion."
Sure, the case is likely to go back to court and the $1.26 billion judgement is unlikely to stick, at least in total. But it does raise the question of inattentiveness and poor prioritization. What important things are we not paying attention to that could cost us money? What are we doing to ensure that a single employee doesn't trivialize something extremely important, whether it is a lawsuit, a customer complaint, or an opportunity to get a-hold of Pepsi's presentation on "Fool-proof ways to make $1.26 billion" from their recent board meeting?
This story motivated me to clean out my inbox today. Hopefully, it creates some good for all of us. Except for Pepsi. I'm a Coke fan.