Flo Rida awarded $82.6 million in damages
South Florida rapper wins lawsuit against Boca Raton-based Celsius
South Florida rapper Flo Rida has won his lawsuit against Boca Raton-based energy drink maker Celsius Holdings Inc. and was awarded $82.6 million in damages, a Broward County jury decided Wednesday.
The verdict came on the second day of deliberations.
Flo Rida, whose real name is Tramar Dillard, claimed in a lawsuit that Celsius owes him thousands of dollars in unpaid royalties earned from his endorsement deal.
The lawsuit was seeking damages for "breach of contract, accounting and unjust enrichment."
"As a music industry superstar and international icon with millions of digital followers, Flo Rida played an instrumental role as the worldwide brand ambassador and launched a new era for Celsius brand development, growth and expansion," the lawsuit states.
The partnership, brokered by Wellington-based D3M Licensing Group in 2014, "paved the way for Celsius to grow its product portfolio" and expand distribution into major retailers, the lawsuit claims.
According to the lawsuit, the deal guaranteed payments to Flo Rida, his Hialeah-based Strong Arm Productions and D3M when certain benchmarks were reached.
Lawyers for the company claimed those benchmarks came after Flo Rida's endorsement deal had expired.
"This was a long journey, but we prevailed," Flo Rida said in a statement after the verdict was rendered. "From the start, I only wanted what I worked for, nothing more, nothing less. I was instrumental in the Celsius that you know and love today. When this journey began, no one knew Celsius. I took Celsius all over the world through my videos, concerts, appearances and social media. I have gained a new respect for the judicial system."
John Uustal, an attorney for the entertainer, said he was pleased with the jury's decision.
"I'm glad, in this case, the jury concluded that Flo Rida should get what he worked for," Uustal said.
Celsius could still appeal the verdict.
Attorneys for the company didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
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