A South Dakota man claims he found a mouse in can of Coca-Cola, but the soda titan is defending itself in the suit in a rather stomach-churning fashion.
It claims that if the mouse was really in the Coke can, it should have been more decomposed than it was.
Duane Putzier claims he found the mouse in a 16-ounce can of Coke that he purchased last June from a gas station in Mitchell, according to the Mitchell Republic.
Putzier said he was nearly finished when he felt a solid mass inside the can touch his lips, causing him to spit out the Coke and pour the rest onto the ground, according to the Grand Forks Herald.
When Putzier and his wife, Rebecca, cut open the can, they claim they found a dead mouse.
He says that the next day, became ill and ultimately ended up missing 60 hours of work, lost 30 pounds, and accumulated around $1,000 in medical bills.
Now he is suing Coca-Cola for $2,026, plus general damages in any amount proven at trial, with interest.
Coca-Cola denies the allegations. Attorney Brian Johnson says the proof lies in the rodent itself.
During a motions hearing Tuesday at the Davison County Courthouse, Johnson said that if a rodent had really found its way into the Coke can, it shouldn’t have been as well preserved as the evidence shows.
“It had fur. It had blood on its nose. Its limbs were intact. There was very minor decomposition,” he told the court.
Records show the can in question was produced by a Coca-Cola facility in Portland, Indiana, on April 25, 2016, according to the Grand Forks Herald.
Johnson argued in court that if the mouse had really wormed its way into the Coke can, it should have been a more advanced stage of decomposition than it was. Also, the gases produced by the mixture of soda and mouse would have compromised the can.
A veterinary pathologist will likely testify on the mouse’s decomposition.
“Coca-Cola is faced with a claim that’s really an attack on its brand,” Johnson said, according to the Associated Press. “Coca-Cola takes these cases extremely seriously and tries them all.”
There is a long history of people claiming to find rats in soda cans, as The Verge helpfully pointed out last year with this handy guide.
Soda companies sued for this typically argue that the rats allegedly found in their cans should be in a collagen-like state of goo.