A Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case brought by an Oregon homeowner against more than 80 cannabis companies and their representatives has been dismissed after the plaintiff asked the court to end the case, according to a Law360 report. The homeowner, Laura Underwood, had sued the companies over the smell of a nearby cannabis farm which she said reduced her property values, led to a worse deal on a home equity loan, and made her property impossible to sell.
The 80-some companies roped into the lawsuit had done some business with the farm.
The defendants had argued in a motion to dismiss the case last month that Underwood’s “manufactured” injury was not plausible because the farm in question had gone out of business. The cannabis farm property owner subsequently applied to re-zone the property, which Underwood opposed, leading the defendants to claim that since she opposed the change “it is not plausible that she wants to sell her property or believes that marijuana is hurting her ability to do so.”
Alex Tinker, of Tonkon Torp LLP, told Law360 that many of the original defendants settled for $1,000 to get rid of the suit and three others took “walk away” deals earlier this month; but the three remaining defendants chose to “stand up to the bully.” Tinker added that the decision to toss the case “certainly feels like a win for the industry.”
According to the report, two similar RICO cases brought against the industry failed in the Ninth Circuit court which determined that cannabis scent is not a compensable injury. The Tenth Circuit, however, ruled against a cannabis farm in a similar suit but that case wound up in a defense verdict.