August 27, 2004 19:24
Judge Kim Yoon-ki of the Seoul Central District Court announced Friday that Coca-Cola Bottling would not be held responsible for the decayed teeth of Lee Chul-ho, the head of legal website Nasiyen.com, who made W1.2 billion off a damage suit against the multinational firm. Kim said the cause and effect relationship between Coca-Cola and decayed teeth was not proven.
Lee has been drinking one to three 360 ml bottles of coke almost every day for thirty years and is now addicted to it. He insisted that he lost 11 teeth due to paradentitis resulting from coca-cola and finally sued the company.
The judge noted in the decision statement, "Lee's paradentitis was produced from various causes which make it difficult to judge that Coca-Cola's acid elements and amount of sugar were responsible for the disease. Also, the amount of caffeine in Coca-cola is less than the amount in coffee or tea therefore, it is hard to say that symptoms of addiction appeared just by drinking it."
In addition, the bench said, "This kind of proposal is not a subject of a civil suit," when Lee asked the company to add warning signs on its products saying, "If you drink Coca-Cola for a long period of time, it may damage the condition of your teeth."
"I will make an appeal but the fact that Coca-Cola's danger is known to the public is valuable," claimed Lee. Coca-Cola Bottling Korea welcomed the decision, saying, "It confirmed that tooth diseases are related to managing teeth condition, not to simply drinking Coca-Cola."
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