GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A jury on Friday ordered Anheuser-Busch to pay $50 million to the family of late baseball great Roger Maris for improperly taking away a beer distributorship.
The Maris family immediately questioned the award, saying it does not include $89.7 million from lost sales. A hearing over the disputed amount was planned for later Friday.
The world's largest brewer took away the distributorship in 1997, prompting a $300 million breach of contract lawsuit from the family, which had run the operation in Gainesville and Ocala for 29 years.
Attorneys for the Maris family said Anheuser-Busch wanted to take over the distributorship so it could give the contract to family friends of chairman August Busch III. Busch attorneys denied the claim.
The St. Louis brewer offered $20 million for the distributorship before taking it away.
Anheuser-Busch said it terminated the contract because of Maris Distributing's fraudulent conduct of repackaging outdated beer and falsifying records to make it look like they were visiting customers when they weren't.
Anheuser-Busch also received several complaints from clients about the Maris family's attitude, which was "indifference bordering on arrogance," attorneys for the brewer said.
Anheuser-Busch's $8.6 million countersuit was denied by the jury.