988 F.2d 386 (3rd Cir. 1993), 91-3496, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Elizabethtown, Inc. v. Coca-Cola Co.

Docket Nº:91-3496, 91-3498.
Citation:988 F.2d 386
Party Name:COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY OF ELIZABETHTOWN, INC.; Jackson Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Incorporated; New Bern Coca-Cola Bottling Works, Inc.; Plymouth Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Incorporated; Owensboro Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc.; Sacramento Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc.; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Shelbyvi
Case Date:February 17, 1993
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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988 F.2d 386 (3rd Cir. 1993)

COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY OF ELIZABETHTOWN, INC.; Jackson

Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling

Company, Incorporated; New Bern Coca-Cola Bottling Works,

Inc.; Plymouth Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Incorporated;

Owensboro Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc.; Sacramento

Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc.; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of

Shelbyville, Inc.; Beaver Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Quaker

State Coca-Cola Bottling Company; The Cleveland Coca-Cola

Bottling Company, Inc.; Keystone Coca-Cola Bottling

Company; Central Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc.; Reading

Coca-Cola Bottling Works; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of

Shreveport, Inc. (formerly Star Bottling Works, Ltd.); The

Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Fort Smith, a partnership;

Texarkana Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Coca-Cola Bottling

Company; Las Cruces Coca-Cola Bottling Company; West

Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company; The Coca-Cola Bottling

Company of Tucson, Inc.; Hattiesburg Coca-Cola Bottling

Company; Magnolia Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc.;

Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Tulsa, Inc.; Ouachita

Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc.; Natchez Coca-Cola

Bottling Co., Inc.; Wichita Coca-Cola Bottling Co.;

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. (North Dakota); Marshall

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Liquidating Trust; Permian Coca-Cola

Bottling Co.; Scioto Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Richmond

Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Kennett

(a partnership); Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Jamestown;

Streator Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Texas Coca-Cola Bottling

Co.; Jefferson City Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Coca-Cola

Bottling Co., Inc., Alexandria, MN; Deming Coca-Cola

Bottling Co.; Trenton Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Macon

Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Mary Louise Goodrich; Mary Louise

Kay Robinson, individually and as trustee of the Kendall

family inter vivos trust; Ann Kay Hobson Haack,

individually and as trustee of the Kendall family inter

vivos trust; John K. Hobson; Margaret Dodge Hobson,

individually and as trustee of the Kendall family inter

vivos trust (Subst. for Natchez Coca-Cola Bottling Co.,

Inc.); Oliver C. Hutaff, Jr., as Trustee under

Shareholders' Lawsuit Trust Agreement (Subst. for Wilmington

Coca-Cola Bottling Works, Inc. and Kelford Coca-Cola

Bottling Works, Inc.)

v.

The COCA-COLA COMPANY, a Delaware corporation, Coca-Cola

Bottling Co. of Mt. Pleasant; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of

Muskegeon; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Dickinson; Laredo

Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc., Intervenors in D.C.,

Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Magnolia; Sacramento

Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of

Elizabethtown, Inc. (also successor by merger to Coca-Cola

Bottling Co. of Owensboro); Coca-Cola Bottling Company of

Shelbyville; Trenton Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Plymouth

Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of

Dickinson; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Jamestown; Coca-Cola

Bottling Company of Williston; Cleveland Coca-Cola Bottling

Company; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Lehigh Valley

(formerly known as Bethlehem); Laredo Coca-Cola Bottling

Company; Central Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Love Bottling

Company; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of LaCrosse;

Arkansas-Georgia Company (also known as Nashville);

Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Streator; Natchez Coca-Cola

Bottling Company; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Jefferson

City; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Macon; Coca-Cola

Bottling Company of Deming; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of

Tulsa; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Brownsville (RGV);

Coca-Cola Bottling Company of San Angelo; Las Cruces

Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of

Tucson; Coca-Cola Bottling Company (Alexandria); Coca-Cola

Bottling Company of Marshall; Oliver C. Hutaff, Jr., as

Trustee under Shareholders' Lawsuit Trust Agreement (Subst.

for Wilmington Coca-Cola Bottling Works, Inc. and Kelford

Coca-Cola Bottling Works, Inc.), Appellants.

COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY OF ELIZABETHTOWN, INC.; Jackson

Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling

Company, Incorporated; New Bern Coca-Cola Bottling Works,

Inc.; Plymouth Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Incorporated;

Owensboro Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc.; Sacramento

Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc.; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of

Shelbyville, Inc.; Beaver Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Quaker

State Coca-Cola Bottling Company; The Cleveland Coca-Cola

Bottling Company, Inc.; Keystone Coca-Cola Bottling

Company; Central Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc.; Reading

Coca-Cola Bottling Works; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of

Shreveport, Inc. (formerly Star Bottling Works, Ltd.); The

Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Fort Smith, a partnership;

Texarkana Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Coca-Cola Bottling

Company; Las Cruces Coca-Cola Bottling Company; West

Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company; The Coca-Cola Bottling

Company of Tucson, Inc.; Hattiesburg Coca-Cola Bottling

Company; Magnolia Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc.;

Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Tulsa, Inc.; Ouachita

Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc.; Natchez Coca-Cola

Bottling Co., Inc.; Wichita Coca-Cola Bottling Co.;

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. (North Dakota); Marshall Coca-Cola

Bottling Co. Liquidating Trust; Permian Coca-Cola Bottling

Co.; Scioto Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Richmond Coca-Cola

Bottling Co.; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Kennett (a

partnership); Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Jamestown;

Streator Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Texas Coca-Cola Bottling

Co.; Jefferson City Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Coca-Cola

Bottling Co., Inc., Alexandria, MN; Deming Coca-Cola

Bottling Co.; Trenton Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Macon

Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Mary Louise Goodrich; Mary Louise

Kay Robinson, individually and as trustee of the Kendall

family inter vivos trust; Ann Kay Hobson Haack,

individually and as trustee of the Kendall family inter

vivos trust; John K. Hobson; Margaret Dodge Hobson,

individually and as trustee of the Kendall family inter

vivos trust (Subst. for Natchez Coca-Cola Bottling Co.,

Inc.); Oliver C. Hutaff, Jr., as Trustee under

Shareholders' Lawsuit Trust Agreement (Subst. for Wilmington

Coca-Cola Bottling Works, Inc. and Kelford Coca-Cola

Bottling Works, Inc.)

v.

The COCA-COLA COMPANY, a Delaware corporation,

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Mt. Pleasant; Coca-Cola Bottling

Co. of Muskegeon; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of

Dickinson; Laredo Coca-Cola Bottling

Company, Inc., Intervenors in D.C.,

The Coca-Cola Company, Appellant.

Nos. 91-3496, 91-3498.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

February 17, 1993

Argued March 10, 1992.

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Roger N. Nanovic, Nanovic Law Offices, Jim Thorpe, PA, for Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Elizabethtown, Inc.

Jesse A. Finkelstein, Richards, Layton & Finger, Wilmington, DE, and Emmet J. Bondurant II, (Argued), Jane E. Fahey, (Argued), Jeffrey D. Horst, Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, Atlanta, GA, for Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Magnolia, et al.

Richard D. Allen, Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell, Wilmington, DE, and Frank C. Jones (Argued), Chilton Davis Varner, Dwight J. Davis (Argued), King & Spalding, Atlanta, GA, for The Coca-Cola Bottling Company, a Delaware corp.

Before HUTCHINSON, ALITO and HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

HUTCHINSON, Circuit Judge.

These consolidated appeals are from orders the United States District Court for the District of Delaware entered in one of three related actions 1 concerning the contracts between The Coca-Cola Company (the Company) and some of its bottlers who have persisted in refusing the Company's proposed amendments to its agreements to supply the bottlers' requirements of Coca-

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Cola bottling syrup. 2 In the appeal at our Docket No. 91-3496, eighteen bottlers of the soft drink known as Coca-Cola appealed an order of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware dismissing their amended Count Two claim for declaratory and injunctive relief. 3 The relief sought would have required the Company to supply them with Coca-Cola syrup (herein the syrup) sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) under contracts that license them to market bottled Coca-Cola in a particular territory. Their licenses had their roots in the terms of an 1899 national franchise the Company had granted the predecessor of the bottlers' licensors. That franchise was, however, amended from time to time and ultimately modified by agreements incorporated into two 1921 Consent Decrees (herein Consent Decrees) which settled a 1920 dispute between the Company and the bottlers' licensors.

In its cross-appeal at Docket No. 91-3498, the Company challenges the order of the district court awarding a total of $20,742,398.20 in compensatory damages and prejudgment interest for breach of contracts to the eighteen bottlers who continue to seek injunctive relief in No. 91-3496 and twelve other bottlers who formerly bottled and distributed Coca-Cola (herein the "former bottlers"). These thirty bottlers claimed in Count One of their complaint that the Company had breached its contractual obligations to them when it unilaterally substituted syrup sweetened with the cheaper HFCS for syrup sweetened with the more expensive cane or beet sugar they claim that the Consent Decrees require. The Consent Decrees followed a 1920 law suit the bottlers' licensors...

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