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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

PepsiCo: Dodging Allegations with the Agility of a Soda Can in a Recycling Bin

Written by: Sam Orlando

HOWARD COUNTY, MD - When Rayan Nafa Mohamed filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo—actually, to be painfully precise, against "PepsiCo, Inc. d/b/a New Bern Transportation Corp."—he unleashed allegations that painted a rather Kafkaesque picture of the company's drug testing protocol. A protocol so confusing, one might mistake it for an elaborate corporate version of the board game "Mouse Trap," only instead of capturing a small plastic rodent, Mohamed was trying to capture gainful employment.

You see, Mohamed alleged he was sent hither and yon across the geographical expanse like an errant soda bottle in search of the right recycling bin, all in an effort to complete a simple drug test. We're talking about multiple facilities in different locations, akin to a scavenger hunt for adult responsibility.

And how did PepsiCo, a corporation so big it could probably order a custom country just for soda production, respond to these allegations? Did they acknowledge the seeming maze of inconvenience they had allegedly created for Mohamed? Oh, no. Instead, they filed a Notice of Removal, alerting us all that they've been "incorrectly named" in the lawsuit. One can almost hear the sound of a legal team collectively popping the tab on a can of Diet Pepsi in celebration of their brilliant deflection.

PepsiCo wants the world to know that New Bern Transportation Corp., not PepsiCo, was Mohamed's real employer. Essentially, they argue, we've all been blaming a puppet when we should've been talking to the ventriloquist. It's like accusing a can of Pepsi of being too sugary, when you should really be talking to the recipe maker.

Not stopping there, PepsiCo also wishes to move this circus—complete with its own legal trapeze—from the Circuit Court for Howard County, Maryland, to the glamorous stage of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Because, apparently, the State of Maryland's courtrooms are just not spacious enough for PepsiCo's legal acrobatics.

While we all await PepsiCo's high-wire act of a defense against the actual allegations, the company has shown remarkable agility in sidestepping them so far. It's almost like watching a can of Pepsi roll down a conveyor belt, dodging every attempt to be labeled or categorized. It leaves you wondering: Will their next legal document focus on which flavor of LaCroix to be served in court? Or perhaps a formal complaint about the courtroom temperature affecting the effervescence of their beverages?

Let's keep our soda cans on ice and our eyes on the docket. This promises to be a show like no other.

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