SYRACUSE (TNS) — A $600 million lawsuit against multistate cannabis operator Acreage Holdings and others will move forward after a New York State Supreme Court ruling against a defendants’ motion to dismiss.
The lawsuit against Acreage — one of New York’s 10 registered medical cannabis operators — and nearly 30 other defendants alleges the company participated in a scheme to illegally squeeze a partner out of a medical marijuana license.
Judge Andrea Masley, who ruled Friday, began hearing arguments in January on whether plaintiffs David Feder and EPMMNY, LLC, have authority to sue Acreage and other defendants.
“It’s a pretrial evidentiary hearing on whether Mr. Feder had the capacity to go with the case, and the judge ruled that he absolutely did,” said attorney Lawrence Lonergan, who is representing Feder. “We’re very pleased the court saw things our way.”
The case could also complicate a plan for Canopy Growth of Ontario, Canada, to acquire Acreage — a deal valued around $843 million, according to The Motley Fool, which covers the financial industry. Canopy is also named as a defendant in the suit.
In addition to Acreage Holdings, the lawsuit names as defendants representatives of New Amsterdam Distributors, LLC, New York Canna, Inc., (NYCanna), and individuals including high-profile Syracuse figures like building contractor Dino Dixie, former police chief Dennis DuVal and former WCNY president and CEO Robert Daino.
The lawsuit revolves around a company that Dixie, DuVal and Daino initially founded around 2013 called NYCanna, which was later acquired by Acreage Holdings, and details a number of complicated mergers, takeovers and other transactions in the company’s history.
Originally filed in November 2018, the lawsuit claims EPMMNY played an instrumental role in obtaining the medical marijuana license under which Acreage currently operates, and that defendants violated a contract for the ownership, management and control of the business license.
The 230-page amended complaint filed in October seeks $200 million — the amount plaintiffs claim the license is worth — plus $400 million in punitive damages and control of the license.