Cannabis Litigation: Curaleaf Wins Dismissal of Securities Class Action Lawsuit

Curaleaf gotten some news that is good mid-February when a federal court dismissed a class action lawsuit alleging it violated federal securities laws. We wrote about this lawsuit when it was first filed in August 2019 and have tracked various issues Curaleaf that is involving in articles (see links below). Your decision by Judge Cogan of this Eastern District of the latest York reflects the value for organizations attempting to sell CBD items to create fulsome, appropriate, and disclosures that are timely their securities filings.

A motion tests the sufficiency of a complaint, as my colleague Jihee Ahn recently explained. This means a complaint must contain enough matter that is factual, if real, states a claim that will enable a court to fairly infer that the defendant is likely. A motion to dismiss a complaint then, in essence, contends to your court that regardless if the facts alleged within the problem had been real, the plaintiff hasn’t founded a ground that is legal liability and so the complaint should be dismissed.

With that bit of background let’s review a few facts that are salient. Curaleaf was made in 2018 through a takeover that is reverse a Canadian company and Delaware company and is listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange. On 26, 2018, Curaleaf announced the completion of the business combination and it filed a “Listing Statement” with the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (“SEDAR”) october. SEDAR could be the Canadian exact carbon copy of the Electronic Data Gathering, review, and system that is retrieval“EDGAR”) in the United States and serves to facilities the electronic filing of securities information and allow for the dissemination of information.

The Listing Statement filed with SEDAR significantly affected the motion to dismiss. The Listing Statement stated, in part:

  1. the company would derive a substantial portion of revenue from cannabis in the United States, which industry is illegal under federal law,
  2. cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug which under federal law means it is a substance with a potential that is high punishment , no accepted medical use,
  3. that the Food And Drug Administration hasn’t authorized cannabis as a safe and effective medication for almost any indicator, and
  4. the business’s items are maybe not authorized by the FDA.

The Detailing Statement proceeded to explain the appropriate dangers of playing the cannabis industry together with possibly “material negative impact” such danger might have regarding the business and its own share cost.

Not very long after filing the Listing Statement, Curaleaf started exchanging regarding the Canadian Stock Exchange as well as on 21, 2018, Cureleaf issued a press release describing its “premium hemp-based CBD products. november” The press release advertised the products as treating a variety of illnesses (chronic pain, depression, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease) but did not discuss FDA approval. Press releases issued on 26 and 28 and December 4, 5, and 14 also were silent on FDA approval.

To november state an underlying cause of action for securities fraudulence under federal legislation, a plaintiff must plead facts that the defendant made a statement that is false omitted a material fact, with scienter (i.e. a culpable state of mind), and that plaintiff’s reliance on defendant’s action caused the plaintiff injury. And, under federal law, the complaint must specify each statement alleged to have been misleading and the reasons why the statement is misleading. This is no task that is easy

Here, plaintiffs alleged that general public statements created by the business were false and deceptive because defendants neglected to disclose the illegality fully of the sale of CBD products under federal law due to the lack of FDA approval.

The problem for plaintiffs, explained the Court, is that the Listing Statement “publicly and repeatedly acknowledged the information that is very plaintiffs contend it concealed: its cannabis-based items are maybe not authorized by the Food And Drug Administration and so the Food And Drug Administration may consider their advertising as breaking founded legislation.” Consequently, the Court ruled there was clearly no omission of a material reality with regards to defendants’ reported damage. Plaintiffs argued that Curaleaf’s pr announcements “should have noted the also company’s products were illegal. But relying on longstanding precedent, the Court ruled that not every statement that is public by Curaleaf must support the complete roster of disclosures based in the securities filings.

The governing contains other “ins and outs” related to pleading and securities legal actions. However for current purposes the ruling shows the significance of filing prompt and securities disclosures that are accurate. That, in essence, won the for Curaleaf here.

For day more reading on Curaleaf and cannabis securities, see:(*)Full disclosure: My colleague Vince Sliwoski papered a $5 million mezzanine loan to a Curaleaf purchase some time right back, with respect to a party that is third(*)

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