Jack Owoc, the founder of Bang Energy who was removed from his roles as Chief Executive Officer, Chief Science Officer, and Chairman of the company in March 2023 (inside.beer 9.3. 2023), has been ordered to pay USD 63,517 for his Instagram posts critiquing the company's advisers involved in the sale of the energy drink brand to Monster Beverage Corp, according to Bloomberg. The sum encompasses the legal fees incurred by the attorneys representing the former owner of Bang Energy, Vital Pharmaceuticals Inc., in their efforts to enforce a temporary restraining order.
Judge Peter Russin of the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida noted in a court filing that Owoc's now-deleted social media posts could be characterized as a "rant" and had the potential to damage Bang's business by casting doubts on the integrity of the bankruptcy sale process that followed Vital Pharmaceuticals' Chapter 11 protection filing in October 2022 (inside.beer 10.10.2022).
Owoc posted these comments under the @BangEnergy.CEO Instagram account, which had one million followers, and his statements included phrases such as "I (JACK OWOC) WAS FORCED BY THREAT TO POST THIS AGAINST MY WILL" and "THE FLORIDA BANKRUPTCY COMMUNITY MUST BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE!"
Judge Russin determined that Owoc's posts violated a temporary restraining order, which he and his wife, Megan Owoc, had previously agreed to adhere to. The Owocs also breached the restraining order by failing to provide the passwords for the TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram accounts within the specified deadline in March.
This news came shortly after Judge Jesus Gilberto Bernal of the US District Court for the Central District of California ruled on Friday, that Monster Energy is entitled to USD 20.9 million in attorneys' fees and more than USD 22 million in additional damages for Bang's alleged false advertising of its energy drinks, as reported by Reuters. He granted these fees, considering the strength of Monster's legal position and the lack of respect for the legal process displayed by then-CEO of Bang, Jack Owoc, during the trial last year. This trial concluded with a USD 293 million judgment in favor of Monster in the false advertising lawsuit.
Nonetheless, the extent to which Monster can successfully recover the damages remains uncertain. Shortly after the judgment, Bang filed for bankruptcy 2022 (inside.beer 10.10.2022)., and in July, Monster acquired Bang for USD 362 million (inside.beer, 10.8.2023). However, this ruling will impact the amount that Monster can assert during the liquidation of Bang, as detailed in a court filing submitted by the companies in August. According to Bang's bankruptcy filing, the company holds between USD 9 million and USD 11.6 million in cash available for distribution to its creditors.