Rapper Flo Rida has won big in a legal battle with the energy drink brand Celsius. The 43-year-old, real name Tramar Dillard, took Celsius to court for a breach of contract over an endorsement deal. On Thursday afternoon, a jury in Broward County sided with Flo Rida and awarded him a little over $82 million in damages.
That’s $82.6 million in damages, to be precise.
The lawsuit stems from Celsius’s alleged failure to honor a 2014 agreement for Flo Rida to “globally market and promote all aspects of the Celsius brand. The original contract, which was renegotiated and extended in 2016, reportedly promised Flo Rida various bonuses and stock options as a portion of his compensation if certain sales milestones were achieved.
The contract was reportedly vague. As in, it apparently did not give a timeline for milestones to be hit AND did not specifically define what a “unit” was. A unit could have been a single drink, a box, a case… Flo Rida’s lawyers further argued that their client wasn’t given access to Celsius’ financial performance, so he wasn’t able to understand if, how and when any milestones were surpassed.
Flo’s lawyers claimed the contract entitled the rapper to 500,000 shares basically by default from the terms of the contract AND an additional 250,000 shares if various sales “units” were achieved. If all milestones were achieved, Flo Rida could have owned 1% of the company.
And a jury agreed.
The jury ruled in Flo Rida’s favor on all three of his legal claims, including one for 250,000 Celsius shares, another for 500,000 shares, and the third involving royalties on a sparkling orange drink that were promised in 2018.
After the verdict was announced, Flo Rida gave a statement to reporters outside the courtroom:
“This was a long journey, but we prevailed. From the start I only wanted what I worked for, nothing more, nothing less. I gained a new respect for the judicial system, most importantly, and I just want to say God bless America.”
The rapper told reporters that he was an important part of the success that the brand enjoys today, with stock that now goes for around $100 a share compared to the $1 per share it was traded for before he was brought on board (of course, that stock dipped a bit after the news of the judgment against the company came out).
As Flo Rida put it:
“I was instrumental in Celsius, which you know and love today. I put them on my back and Celsius accompanied me all over the world, through my videos, concerts, appearance and social media.”
Celsius’s own attorneys argued in court that Flo Rida had been compensated per all their mutual agreements and that the endorsement deal closed in 2018 before most of the company’s recent success. But obviously, the jury disagreed.