Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Coca-Cola Co.
United States District Court for the District of Delaware
110 F.R.D. 363 (1986)
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. (Bottlers) (plaintiffs) sued Coca-Cola Co. (Coca-Cola) in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and damages. The dispute concerned whether diet Coke was included under the existing Coca-Cola Bottler’s Syrup contracts. The Bottlers asked the court to force Coca-Cola to produce its top-secret soft drink formulae during discovery. The court concluded that the formulae had to be disclosed so that it could fairly determine whether the diet Coke syrup was included and ordered the disclosure under a protective order. Coca-Cola sent a letter to the court that Coca-Cola would not produce its formulae due to the “overriding commercial importance of…secrecy,” but requested a hearing on the question of sanctions. The Bottlers requested that the court strike Coca-Cola’s answer, enter a default judgment in the Bottlers’ favor pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) Rule 37(b)(2)[(A)(ii)], and award costs and attorneys’ fees to the Bottlers. Coca-Cola opposed the Bottlers request and instead suggested that a limited preclusion order should be issued.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Schwartz, J.)