This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A Utah company behind Tooele County's "Country Explosion" has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit in federal court, arguing that the road show manager for country duo Florida Georgia Line defamed its company and breached their contract.
Country Explosion LLC filed the lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court. They are asking for at least $15 million from Florida Georgia Line and road show manager Troy Johnson.
According to the complaint, Country Explosion LLC gave Johnson a $205,000 check on July 20, but told Johnson not to cash the check until three days later.
"It was also explained that the reason for the delay was that the check would be covered by box office receipts that would clear within the next 72 hours," attorney David Drake wrote in the complaint.
Johnson agreed to wait the three days, according to the lawsuit, but he then cashed the check the next day. This breached the oral agreement the two parties made, Drake argued.
"As if adding insult to injury, on July 22, 2014, Johnson announced by email to the William Morris Agency Nashville and to other artists and booking agencies in Nashville, that the check had bounced, making Country [Explosion] absolutely toxic among the artists and booking agencies in Nashville," the lawsuit reads. "This has also had repercussions in the entertainment industry around the whole country."
Since the July 22 email, Country Explosion LLC said they have not been able to book other artists. The company believes Johnson should be responsible to pay for their lost business.
The company also alleges that Johnson and Florida Georgia Line "intentionally misrepresented" that the check had bounced, knowing that the company is already working to book acts for next summer's festival.
Representatives of Florida Georgia Line did not return messages seeking comment. Florida Georgia Line is known for the hit songs "Dirt" and "Round Here."
The Country Explosion music festival was held at the Desert Peak Complex on July 17-20. The line-up included country acts Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Toby Keith and Florida Georgia Line.
Along with at least $15 million, Country Explosion LLC is also asking for additional money if the company goes out of business, and for the defendants to notify everyone they told about the bounced check that their statements "were incorrect."
Florida Georgia Line Responds
The public relations firm for Florida Georgia Line responded Wednesday morning after publication with the following statement:
"We are disappointed to learn of the lawsuit filed by Country Explosion, LLC in Utah yesterday. We have attempted in good faith to resolve this dispute without resorting to litigation. However, Country Explosion's defensive, and factually creative filing cannot change the fact that Country Explosion remains in breach of its agreement and still owes Florida Georgia Line a significant amount for their Sunday night performance at the 2014 Festival, which the band performed for their fans despite not being paid as contracted.
We intend to pursue our claims aggressively and believe the truth regarding Country Explosion's actions and inactions, and the factual inaccuracies in their complaint, will be clear as the litigation proceeds."