A South Florida jury awarded over $82 million to hip-hop artist Flo Rida after winning his lawsuit against energy drink company Celsius where the singer accused the company of trying to hide money from him.
Tramar Dillard, Flo Rida’s legal name, and his company Strong Arm Productions sued Celsius Holdings Inc. in May 2021 for breaching a contract he signed when the two entered an endorsement deal years earlier.
“Basically, I helped birth this company, and all we was looking for was some trustworthy people who acted as if they were family,” Dillard told The Associated Press. “And then when it comes down to the success of today, they just forgot about me.”
Mr. Dillard’s complaint argued that his role as a brand ambassador from 2014 to 2018 helped Celsius expand its product portfolio. That included a powder product called Celsius Heat that was launched during the partnership and one that the company has continued to sell and collect revenue from.
Celsius argued that its greatest success came after the partnership ended and that “other business decisions” led to the company’s upward trend in sales and stock value.
“[Dillard] loved the product, and it’s been a very successful four-year relationship,” John Uustal, the hip-hop artist’s attorney, told the AP. “There were some benchmarks. He was supposed to get stock when certain things happened. And there became a dispute about whether those benchmarks had been reached. So that’s what this was about.”
Mr. Dillard, who is still an owner in the company, said he was willing to accept stock instead of the jury’s monetary award. He also said he is interested in working with the company again in the future.
“When you basically planted the seed for something that is successful, you can’t help but have unconditional love,” Mr. Dillard said.
Celsius can still appeal the verdict.
• This story is based in part on wire service reports.