Los Angeles-based Obagi Law Group earns client $2.7 million verdict in legalized cannabis case, simultaneously providing blueprint for navigating jury through nascent, ever-changing industry
February 25, 2020
LOS ANGELES — In the last decade, perhaps no industry has exploded in growth, and perils, in the United States faster than legalized cannabis. It was only in 2012 that the first states legalized recreational use of cannabis. Today, nearly 40 states have some level of legalized cannabis.
Such rapid growth — particularly in an industry dealing with product at once considered illegal — brings with it no shortage of pitfalls. From constantly changing laws to revised tax and zoning codes, from new licensing requirements to dispensaries being structured more and more like traditional companies, the cannabis industry is becoming increasingly difficult for a business owner to navigate.
And an industry in a state of change and confusion is also one that is ripe for infiltration by people looking to make a buck (or millions) through fraud, deceptive business practices and theft.
Often, victims in these instances must turn to the courts for remediation. And finding legal representation adept at navigating the turbulent waters of this still-nascent industry is key to a successful outcome.
In Los Angeles County Superior Court earlier this month, Obagi Law Group fought for one such victim, proving not only its adeptness at litigating legalized cannabis cases, but providing a blueprint for successfully slicing through the complexities of the industry to show a jury when a plaintiff has fallen victim to fraud.
Using a strategic approach that began long before the first gavel dropped, Obagi Law Group obtained a $2.718 million verdict and a jury’s recommendation that Obagi Law’s client retain 50-percent stock ownership in the dispensary it feared stolen by the defendants.
The winning game plan began with Tara Hattendorf’s skill as second chair in jury selection that provided lead counsel Zein E. Obagi, Jr. an audience which he could walk through the details of the case — from opening argument through witness testimony and a chronological storyline evidenced in writings.
Throughout the trial, Attorney Hee Kim used daily trial transcripts to formulate closing arguments. By the time testimony was over, Mr. Kim had an outline in place that allowed Mr. Obagi to cement the case in the jurors’ minds with a detailed and concise closing argument.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” Mr. Obagi said following the verdict. “This outcome delivers long-awaited justice to our clients who were cheated out of their ownership share in their cannabis dispensary.
“Our team came together to give our clients the best possible representation. That’s our goal every time – to be the best.”