Joyce v. Pepsico


11/06/09 – 11/06/09


Hearing on defendant's motion to vacate $1.26 billion default judgment entered on September 30, 2009. In the underlying suit, Charles Joyce and James Voigt alleged that Pepsi stole their idea to sell bottled water.

Pepsico claimed that it was unaware of the lawsuit until after the default judgment was entered, even though its distributors had made court appearances in previous months.

The plaintiff claimed that it served the registered agent listed on Pepsico's corporate relations website, and that Wisconsin law did not require service upon the in-state agent. In addition, according to the plaintiff, Pepsico's service agent in fact sent the summons and complaint to the person in the legal department responsible for receiving it. The plaintiff asserted that because the defendant was properly served, and there was no showing of excusable neglect or extraordinary circumstances, the Court might allow Pepsico a hearing on damages, but could not vacate the default judgment.

According to Pepsico, there was no general registered agent for service of process for the corporation as a whole, and neither an officer, director, or managing agent of the corporation was served, nor was a registered agent in Wisconsin ever served. Pepsico also asserted that the statute of limitations had run on the lawsuit, because it was filed 15 years after Pepsi started selling Aquafina bottled water, and there was no prejudice to the plaintiff due to any delay.

The Court did not rule on the adequacy of service, but concluded that the defendant did not receive adequate notice of the motion for a default judgment, as required by Wisconsin Statutes section 806.02, and there was also a deficiency in the complaint for section 806.02 purposes.

View free video clips from the case:
Plaintiff's Argument Against Extraordinary Circumstances -- Clip 1

Recording Disclaimer: This proceeding was recorded in full.

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