“Mountain Dew can melt a mouse.” Such a scandalous claim may seem to be an internet phenomenon that circles the globe with unbelievable speed. This claim however, is not such an urban myth, but is the legal defense of PepsiCo in a Madison County, Illinois case captioned Ronald Ball v. PepsiCo, Inc. The plaintiff, Ronald Ball, alleges that he bought a Mountain Dew soda pop from a vending machine and found a dead mouse inside.
PepsiCo’s actual legal defense is (and I am not making this up) that Mountain Dew is so potent that Ball could not have found a dead mouse in his soda because it would have melted into a jelly-like substance. Indeed, PepsiCo sought to have the case dismissed on such grounds. In connection with a motion for summary judgment, PepsiCo submitted an affidavit containing expert testimony from one Lawrence McGill. McGill, a self-professed licensed veterinarian who has “dedicated [his] entire career to veterinary pathology and [has] performed necropsies (autopsies) on thousands of animals,” claims, and I quote,
If a mouse is submerged in a fluid with the acidity of Mountain Dew, the following will occur due to the normal acidity of the fluid:
a. Between four days to at most seven days in the fluid, the mouse will have no calcium in its bones and bony structures.
b. Within four to seven days in the fluid, the mouse’s abdominal structure will rupture. Its cranial cavity (head) is also likely to rupture within that time period.
c. By 30 days of exposure to the fluid, all of the mouse’s structures will have disintegrated to the point the structures (excepting possibly a portion of the tail) will not be recognizable and, therefore, the animal itself will not be recognizable. Instead, after 30 days in the fluid, the mouse will have been transformed into a “jelly-like” substance.
Shortly after the testimony was submitted, PepsiCo changed attorneys. It is unclear whether the two events are related.