6 Bizarre Beverage Lawsuits Slideshow
In 1991, a man from Michigan by the name of Richard Overton famously sued Anheuser-Busch for false and misleading advertising. The ads in question were for Bud Light and depicted a scene in which beautiful, bikini-clad women suddenly appeared for two truck drivers drinking the beer. The offense? When Mr. Overton drank Bud Light, no such ladies materialized. Seeking $10,000 in damages, he claimed to have suffered emotional distress, mental injury, and financial loss. Ultimately, Mr. Overton got no babes and no bucks as the case was dismissed in 1994.
Ever since Stella Liebeck's infamous McDonald’s hot coffee suit, there have been no shortage of copycat cases. Not surprisingly, coffee giant Starbucks has been in the hot seat (pun intended) in several of these. Recent accusations include a coffee cup with an improperly secured lid, as well as one involving “unreasonably hot” tea. But perhaps most bizarre is the case of a self-described “professional model” who claimed to have been scared after a barista slid a scalding hot cup of coffee across the store’s counter, yelling “Catch the cup!” The incident allegedly took place in 2006 but went unreported until five years later.
In 1999, John Leonard sued PepsiCo, Inc. for breach of contract and fraud relating to the company’s “Drink Pepsi, get points” promotion. He claimed to have gotten the seven million points needed to collect the Harrier fighter jet he had seen advertised on TV. As it turned out, he didn’t literally drink Pepsi to get points. According to contest rules, points were available for purchase for 10 cents each and so after collecting 15 points he sent the company a check for the rest — $700,008.50 plus $10 for shipping and handling. In the end, Mr. Leonard’s claims were rejected on the grounds that the commercial did not actually constitute an offer.
Who would have thought that bottled water could get Pepsi into so much hot water? According to Wisconsin men Charles A. Joyce and James R. Voight, the company stole their idea for bottling purified water. Apparently they had discussed the idea with company bottlers in 1981 and 15 years later, PepsiCo's Aquafina was introduced. A judge granted them a $1.26 billion default judgement but the ruling was vacated in November of 2006.
What's in a name? Well, in the case of CytoSport's popular fortified drink, Muscle Milk, the answer is: not what's in the bottle. The water-based nutritional shake actually contains no milk whatsoever. It's a fact which, let's just say, perturbed beverage company Nestlé enough to file a complaint with the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in July of 2009. Why? Because Nestlé, as the manufacturer of several milk-based beverages, "strongly believes in the nutritional benefits of milk" and didn't want consumers to be misled. Thanks for looking out for us, Nestlé.
OK, so this last one doesn't deal with one beverage or beverage company specifically, but rather the consumption of (several) alcoholic beverages. Ontario-based receptionist Linda Hunt successfully sued her employer for more than $300,000 because they did not stop her from driving home drunk in a snowstorm following a 1994 company Christmas party. The incident resulted in a car accident that caused her extensive injuries. Apparently, even though her employers offered to get her a cab or alternative accommodation if she surrendered her keys, the presiding judge declared that it was the “duty of the employer to monitor employees at company functions.”