Hip hop artist Flo Rida awarded $82.6M in lawsuit against Celsius energy drinks

FILE - Flo Rida performs onstage during iHeartRadio 93.3 FLZ’s Jingle Ball 2022 Presented by Capital One at Amalie Arena on Dec. 16, 2022, in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

Hip hop artist Flo Rida, whose real name is Tramar Dillard, was awarded $82.6 million by a south Florida jury on Wednesday after he won a lawsuit against Celsius energy drinks.

Dillard and his production company, Strong Arm Productions, sued Boca Raton-based Celsius Holdings Inc. in Broward County court in May 2021 after claiming the company breached a contract with him and then tried to hide money.

The rapper and singer said the company did not follow through with the conditions stated in an endorsement deal.

"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."


Rapper Tramar Dillard, known as Flo Rida, appears at the Broward County Couthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)


The civil complaint showed that Dillard was a brand ambassador for Celsius from 2014 to 2018. During those years, he played an "instrumental role" in launching a new era for the "company's brand development, growth and expansion," resulting in exposure to millions around the world, the AP reported.

Dillard and his attorneys argued that the partnership paved the way for Celsius to grow its product portfolio, including a powder product and a new line called Celsius Heat in conjunction with Flo Rida's partnership.

The company has consistently sold and collected revenues for its powder-form products since then.

Lawyers for Celsius argued in court and in previous filings that the company reached its greatest success after Dillard's endorsement deal ended, adding that "other business decisions" led to increased sales and stock value.

Celsius can still appeal the verdict.


Attorney John Uustal said Dillard wanted the 1% ownership he was promised and would be willing to accept the stock in place of the money awarded by the jury.

Uustal said Dillard loved the products and referred to the four-year partnership as "very successful."

"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," Uustal said. "So that’s what this was about."

Dillard said he would like to move on from the legal battle and work with the company again in the future. He said he still drinks Celsius products and even owns stock in the company.

"I’m still a owner in the company," Dillard told the AP. "And when you basically planted the seed for something that is successful, you can’t help but have unconditional love."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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