MADISON, Wisc. (CN) — PepsiCo was ordered to pay $1.26 billion to two men who said the company stole their idea to sell purified water – because of a secretary’s error. Charles Joyce and James Voight sued PepsiCo. in Jefferson County Circuit Court in April. The two men won the default judgment Sept. 30.
But PepsiCo said its legal department in Purchase, N.Y., headquarters wasn’t notified of the case until mid-September, when secretary Kathy Henry got a letter for her boss, Tom Tamoney, Yahoo! reported.
Henry put the letter aside and didn’t tell anyone about it because she was busy preparing for a board meeting, PepsiCo said in an Oct. 13 motion asking for the court not to enforce the judgment, according to a host of news sources.
Joyce and Voight said they talked with distributors in 1981 about the idea to bottle purified water. They say Pepsi stole the idea and created Aquafina.
A PepsiCo spokesman has dismissed the lawsuit as having no merit.