A South Dakota man who claims to have found a dead mouse in his Coca-Cola can is suing the company for $2,026, claiming that he missed 60 hours of work and accumulated $1,000 in medical bills after becoming ill, according to the Associated Press.
However, Coca-Cola attorneys are calling his bluff, saying that, if it were true, the mouse should have been more decomposed because six weeks had passed between bottling and when it was opened on June 7.
"It had fur. It had blood on its nose. Its limbs were intact. There was very minor decomposition," Brian Johnson, an attorney for the Atlanta-based company, said during a motions hearing Tuesday.
Johnson added that he anticipates testimony from a veterinary pathologist, who will analyze the mouse's decomposition. The defense also hopes to receive testimony from the quality assurance manager and line supervisor from the Indiana plant where the product was bottled.
Duane Putzier sued under a new South Dakota law that allows certain cases to be expedited, where each side is restricted to one witness and six hours. But Johnson asked the presiding judge to change those limits for the case. Judge Patrick Smith ultimately approved a panel of three experts for each party and agreed to lengthen the time limit for the trial.
"Coca-Cola is faced with a claim that's really an attack on its brand," Johnson said. "Coca-Cola takes these cases extremely seriously and tries them all."