AR Briefly

Arkansas medical marijuana sellers sue advising attorneys for alleged fraud

By: - November 9, 2022 6:32 pm

The owners of an Arkansas medical cannabis dispensary have filed a fraud lawsuit against the attorneys they claim sought them out as clients to apply for licenses to sell the drug, according to a complaint filed Nov. 4 in St. Francis County Circuit Court.

Marshall Wright of St. Francis County and Josh Landers of Saline County are two of the four owners of Big Fish of North Arkansas, a dispensary in Heber Springs now operating as Enlightened Cannabis for People Heber Springs. The state Medical Marijuana Commission renewed the dispensary’s license in April.

Wright and Landers claim that two Little Rock lawyers, Alex Gray and Nate Steel, and a firm that employed them “failed to properly advise [them] on their medical marijuana dispensary, its operating agreements, and their management agreements.”

“Defendants breached their duties of care and loyalty to the plaintiffs, and Plaintiffs have suffered and continue to suffer damages,” the complaint states.

The suit accuses Steel, Gray and Capitol Law Group with legal malpractice, fraud and constructive fraud. The constructive fraud charge includes “omitting to provide Plaintiffs with all material facts.”

“Defendants made certain false and misleading claims to Plaintiffs, which Plaintiffs relied on to their detriment,” the fraud allegation states.

Wright has been a longtime law partner with Steel and Gray, and the firm still listed Wright as a member on its website on Wednesday.

Gray said in a statement Wednesday that he did not understand why Wright and Landers filed the suit.

“We categorically deny any wrongdoing and are unclear as to what they allege we did wrong or what harm was caused,” Gray said.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Scott Poynter of Poynter Law Group in Little Rock did not respond to calls and emails requesting comment.

The plaintiffs seek a jury trial and financial damages.

Wright and Steel are both former Democratic members of the state House of Representatives.

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Tess Vrbin, Arkansas Advocate
Tess Vrbin, Arkansas Advocate

Tess Vrbin came to the Advocate from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, where she reported on low-income housing and tenants' rights, and won awards for her coverage of 2021 flooding and tornado damage in rural Arkansas. She previously covered local government for The Commercial Dispatch in Mississippi and state government for the Columbia Daily Tribune in Missouri. A Midwesterner by birth, she graduated from the University of Missouri's journalism school in 2019.

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