It’s like something out of one of those daytime soaps I have most certainly never gotten hooked on — Heirs of the illegitimate son of the Barq’s root beer founder have filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola, alleging that the 1995 sale of Barq’s to the cola colossus wasn’t exactly legit.
We’ll try to untangle the strings for you. Many moons ago in Biloxi, MS, Edward Charles Edmond Barq Sr., founder of Barq’s root beer, sired a child out of wedlock named Jasper Robinson.
Jasper would later open a Barq’s facility in New Orleans and have exclusive rights to sell the drink in Louisiana. His dear old dad retained rights in Mississippi.
In the ’70s, the Mississippi branch of Barq’s was sold off to a pair of investors who marketed it into the brand most people know of.
Meanwhile, Jasper Robinson passed down the Louisiana branch of Barq’s to his two daughters and one son. The son, Jesse, later sold out his portion of the company and his planned inheritance to his sisters.
In the mid-’90s, both branches of the Barq’s company merged before being bought up by Coca-Cola. However, Jesse Robinon’s heirs claim that, under Louisiana law, you can not sell an inheritance. According to their lawsuit, that would nullify their father’s sale of his interest in the company.
According to the Times-Picayune, the heirs are asking for:
one-third interest in the “fruits and revenues generated and produced” by the acquisition of Barq’s “including, without limitation, the increase in value of those rights, the revenues generated from the use of the Barq’s trademark” in Louisiana. The estate is also asking for a share of stock in the Coca-Cola company that would be equal to the amount Robinson held in the Barq’s brand or some monetary compensation.
For its part, Coca-Cola tells the paper, “”We are aware of the suit and believe it is totally without merit.”