SANTA MONICA, Calif.- LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Jan. 27, 2006–Former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman and a major national law firm have been named as defendants in a $50 million lawsuit brought by a food marketing company for Fraud and Interference with Contract relating to a contract the company had with George Foreman Foods to market Foreman brand steaks nationwide. Filed in the Santa Monica branch of the Los Angeles Superior Court by the law firm of Yuhl Rhames & Atkinson, LLP, the lawsuit seeks compensation for lost revenues as well as punitive and exemplary damages.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of GreatMeals, USA, Inc., a corporation based in Washington, D.C., against Foreman, Greenburg Traurig LLP, a Miami, FL-based law firm and John C. Kirkland, a partner of the law firm. Founded in 2001, GreatMeals, USA markets food through cable shopping networks and mail order sales. Greenburg Traurig is a law firm with 1,500 attorneys located in offices throughout the United States.
In its lawsuit GreatMeals, USA alleges that Foreman and Greenburg Traurig conspired to transfer valuable economic opportunities from GreatMeals, USA to Victor Kirkland, the brother of the defendant, John Kirkland. The company further claims that the defendants acted with fraud and malice in an attempt to put it out of business by interfering with a valuable contract between GreatMeals, USA and Home Shopping Network.
According to GreatMeals, USA, in 2002, Foreman and the law firm decided to create and sell a line of food and other products to capitalize on the success of the former boxer’s Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine which sold over 35 million units. They decided to begin with steaks and formed a company, George Foreman Foods, which is based in Omaha, NE.
In 2003, the defendants signed an exclusive contract with GreatMeals, USA to develop and launch a website for the George Foreman Steaks brand and to handle all sales through the internet, catalogs and cable shopping networks. As part of the arrangement, Foreman — who was represented to be the sole owner of George Foreman Foods — agreed to actively promote the steaks and make personal appearances.
The lawsuit contends that while GreatMeals, USA was launching the website, www.georgeforeman.com, developing a line of steaks and signing an exclusive contract with the Home Shopping Network, the defendants had secretly transferred the controlling interest in George Foreman Foods to Victor Kirkland. Further, it alleges that Foreman ultimately refused to promote the steaks and the defendants stopped the catalog launch and interfered with the contract and licensing agreements GreatMeals, USA had entered into.
Among the causes of action in the lawsuit, GreatMeals, USA charges the defendants with: Breach of Contract; Intentional and Negligent Misrepresentation and Deceit; Intentional Interference with GreatMeals, USA and Home Shopping Network Agreements; and Intentional and Negligent Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage.