Customer slips on soda in the store, sues Pepsi and CVS.

According to the Louisiana Record a local resident is suing international beverage company Pepsi together with CVS pharmacy, after allegedly falling in a store as a result of spilled soda on the floor. At first impression it may seem strange to sue the store and the beverage company. But this is the typical “shotgun” approach that crafty lawyers have been taught since the first year of law school. As tenuous as it may appear, a lawyers’ standard approach is to sue every party that has any perceived connection to the complaint. The theory being that it is better to have them and not need them, then vice versa.

Thus, in an abundance of caution a Louisiana lawyer includes the pharmacy and the manufacturer (or distributor) of the soft drink on which the plaintiff allegedly fell. Of course, this will probably require the showing that Pepsi knew or should have known that its product would enter the stream of commerce in this state. Probably not too difficult, but that won’t keep Pepsi on the hook that easily. Federal Courts are notoriously conservative when it comes to personal injury cases. In a state where “slip and fall” cases have a pretty hefty burden of proof, to keep Pepsi in the game the plaintiff’s will likely have to show Pepsi knew or should have known that it was manufacturing or distributing a faulty product. And further, that if Pepsi had exercised reasonable care it could have prevented the product from creating an unreasonable risk of harm to the end consumer.

The focus of this post intentionally omits the mention of CVS but rather concentrates on Pepsi for illustrative purposes. This is purely because I find the issue of Pepsi’s product liability (or not) more interesting than the merits of a “slip and fall” case. As always, comments are welcome and appreciated.

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