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A former Coke Florida executive is sued for breach of contract

A former executive with Coke Florida has been sued for a breach of contract by his one-time employer.

The executive had originally filed his own lawsuit in Hillsboro County on March 2, claiming that Coca-Cola Beverages Florida LLC owed him $43 million. This amount is apparently a fraction of the $1.2 billion in revenue that the company generated in 2017.

Coke Florida filed its own lawsuit on April 6, not in Florida, but instead in the state of Delaware in the Court of Chancery, the sole jurisdiction where all legal matters must be resolved according to their employment contracts.

In its own filing, the Tampa-based exclusive manufacturer, distributor, marketer and seller of Coca-Cola beverages in Florida, claims that he's not owed that amount as he doesn't have any ownership rights to the business.

According to Coke Florida's lawsuit, the former executive had only apparently decided to pursue legal action against them after he was let go from the company in March of this year. In the months before his firing, he'd apparently begun spending less time in his office focusing on improving the company's profit margins. He was instead spending more time at events and customers' places of business.

Once the company's board and other members of its executive team decided to fire him, he was reportedly called into the human resources office and offered a severance package. While he reportedly initially inclined to accept the offer when it was first made, he never gave a firm yes.

Instead, he filed his lawsuit claiming ownership stake in the business. In their countersuit, the company says that no offer of ownership was ever extended to the man, whether in verbal or written form.

Coke Florida has since filed its own lawsuit in Hillsboro County. In it, they have asked the judge presiding over the case to have what it deems to be proprietary information redacted from the original filing. They note that this includes any information about its internal affairs or business strategies. They maintain that the release of this information breached his contract.

The next hearing in the matter is scheduled to take place in a Hillsboro County courtroom on June 25.

If you've accused of having violated the terms of an agreement, then a Melbourne attorney can advise you of potential defenses applicable in your case.

Source: Tampa Bay Business Journal, "Coke Florida sues former president for breach of contract," Margie Manning, April 17, 2018

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