Cannabis growers win $4.9 million in malpractice lawsuit against attorneys
PORTLAND - A jury has awarded $4.9 million to the owners of a cannabis business in a lawsuit filed against Portland-based Emerge Law Group.
Tidewater Investments, LLC, sued Emerge Law Group and two of its attorneys, Corinne Celko and Genny Kiley, after the lawyers failed to alert Tidewater’s owners that a property they planned to purchase couldn’t be used for indoor cannabis growing.
In early 2016, Tidewater purchased a 25-acre property along the Molalla River in Canby, with plans “to construct greenhouses and other structures for the purpose of growing cannabis indoors.” Before the sale went through, Tidewater’s owners asked their attorneys with Emerge Law Group to ensure there were no land use restrictions that would prevent their plans. Emerge Law Group emphasizes its expertise in the cannabis industry. Celko, a partner at Emerge, focuses on land use and development.
The property was in a regulatory floodway, but Celko didn’t tell Tidewater that until December, months after the sale was finalized, Tidewater’s lawsuit claimed.
Case Van Dorne and Joel Jennings grew cannabis and operated a medical marijuana dispensary before recreational cannabis was legalized in 2015. Jason Cain and Fares Rustom joined as investors in Tidewater, which eventually operated a cannabis farm and multiple dispensaries called Five Zero Trees.