By MICHELE McPHEE
A New Hampshire jury today rejected a claim that a woman developed post-traumatic stress disorder that made her fear the frozen food aisle in stores because she allegedly found a rat in her frozen lemonade.
Colleen Grady, 50, testified in a Manchester civil trial that her friend opened a can of Minute Maid frozen lemonade on a July night two years ago to prepare for a dinner party and found a frozen rat inside. She told the court that she was forced to keep the dead rat in her freezer for more than a week until a Coca-Cola Company courier arrived to pick it up. Coca-Cola owns Minute Maid products.
The frozen rat, Grady's attorney said, was on display throughout the three-day civil trial.
Grady also sued Hannaford Supermarkets and Victory Distributors, saying that she was so traumatized at seeing fur, tail and teeth in her drink that she was afraid of the frozen food section at supermarkets and thought sudden movements behind her could be a rat.
But a New Hampshire Superior Court jury ruled in favor of the defendants in the suit and denied Grady a civil settlement, a ruling applauded by Coca-Cola.
"This verdict affirms that Minute Maid beverages meet the highest quality standards at all times," said Jennifer Cruikshank, a spokesperson for Coca Cola. "Our production process and stringent quality protocols make it virtually impossible for this situation to occur. It's unfortunate that someone would seek to profit from such baseless allegations. We are pleased the ruling was in our favor."