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Coke employee who planned to marry Pepsi worker settles suit

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- A woman who sued a Coca-Cola bottling company for $600,000, claiming she was fired for planning to marry a Pepsi employee, says she is 'very pleased' with a tentative out-of-court settlement in the case.

Terms of the agreement between Amanda Blake Cronin of Northampton and the company were not disclosed.

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Cronin filed suit in Hampshire County Superior Court against the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Northampton in July 1985, saying the comptroller of the firm told her either to quit her job, end her relationship with her then-fiance, David Cronin, or persuade him to leave Pepsi.

When she refused, Cronin said she was fired.

David Cronin had worked for the Coke bottling company until April 1985 when he left to take a job with Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Hartford-Springfield.

'It has been settled and we're very pleased with the outcome,' Cronin said during the weekend. She refused to elaborate.

The firing occurred during the so-called soft drink sales war between Coke and Pepsi after Coca-Cola introduced its New Coke formula and discontinued producton of the original beverage. The original formula later was marketed under the name of Classic Coke.

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Cronin, now a computer programmer for Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, named the bottling company, its president, comptroller and personnel director as defendants and asked $150,000 damages from each.

Cronin's lawyer, Mark Berson, said the tentative settlement worked out last week between the two sides must still be filed with the court, but he said he expected formal approval shortly. The suit had been expected to go to trial sometime this spring or summer.

'I'm glad that it's concluded,' Berson said.

A lawyer for the company said the firm also was 'very happy' with the settlement.

Neil Jacobs of the Boston law firm Hale and Dorr said both sides agreed to keep terms of the agreement confidential.

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