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Thursday, January 19, 2023 – Platinum-selling hitmaker Flo Rida has been awarded $82M in damages following a lawsuit he filed against energy drink giant Celsius over unpaid endorsements.
The rapper known for his hits “Low” and “Right Round,” secured victory on Wednesday, January 18.
Flo Rida signed an endorsement deal with Celsius in 2014, and renewed it in 2016. In 2021, the rapper sued the brand, claiming he was not given stock options and other bonuses he was promised in his contract with them.
These bonuses were promised if certain sales achievements were met, however, Flo Rida’s team argued the contract was vague, which prevented him from cashing in on them. “He’s entitled to 500,000 shares of stock via the contract, and entitled to 250,000 shares of stock if certain things happen, one of those yardsticks is that a certain number of units of products need to be sold, but unfortunately the contract doesn’t specify which type of unit—is it a box, is it a drink? And there’s no timeframe or deadline,” lawyer John Uustal told Insider.
Flo Rida said he was also not privy to the Celsius’ financials, and he was not alerted when the company surpassed such goals, and didn’t know that he did. Lawyers for Celsius had argued in documents that the statute of limitations for Flo Rida to bring the complaint had passed, and that its deal with him had ended in 2018. Flo Rida claimed his endorsement of the brand helped them rise to success. Shares of Celsius Inc. Holdings trade at over $100.
During a five-day trial, attorneys for the rapper (real name Tramar Dillard) argued that Celsius had met key sales thresholds that entitled Flo Rida to additional stock amounting to a 1 percent stake in the business, a cut his lawyers claimed was worth at least $75 million now that Celsius had grown successful. They said his promotion had helped boost “a tiny local company that was about to go out of business.”
Celsius’ lawyers argued back that the company had broken no promises, saying the sales thresholds hadn’t been triggered and that the rapper had already been paid “far in excess” of what he was owed. They told the jury that Flo Rida was simply chasing a large cash payout to which he wasn’t entitled, saying, “A business deal is a business deal. You don’t get a do-over just because you’re unhappy with the results.”
The “My House” rapper however stated that the deal didn’t expire and insisted his music helped launch the brand to big profits as evidenced by the now-viral moment where he was grooving to his own music in court.
The jury agreed with Flo and decided he deserved to share in the company’s success to the tune of $82 million.
More than $27 million, which the jury awarded to the rapper accounts for 250,000 shares in Celsius.