Ingelsino’s firm sues medical marijuana permittee for unpaid legal fees

John P. Inglesino

Parsippany law firm Inglesino Wyciskala & Taylor LLC,  launched a breach-of-contract suit against a former client that won state permission to grow and dispense medical marijuana, claiming it’s owed more than $290,000 for legal work that paved the way for those approvals.

The Parsippany law firm contends that Michael Weisser and Garden State Retail Management Inc., formerly known as Compassionate Care Centers of America Foundation Inc. and doing business as Garden State Dispensary, owe more than $41,920 in unpaid hourly fees and disbursements and a $250,000 “result fee” because they secured a non-profit medical marijuana license.

An engagement letter that the parties reached in October 2010 — the same month that the state’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act took effect — also called for an annual fee in monthly installments of $20,833 if any Weisser entity obtained a license, according to the complaint filed in Morris County Superior Court.

The firm said it crafted a medical marijuana license application for CCCAF that was the highest scoring among 21 applicants in 2011, and that Weisser has since deprived it “of the full value of its bargain.” CCCAF was one of six applicants that the state eventually allowed to operate alternate treatment centers, which provide marijuana to qualifying patients.

“By failing to make payment, Defendants have willfully deprived IPW of the full and fair value of its services and disbursements,” the complaint said.

Weisser, an attorney who also operates medicinal marijuana growing facilities and dispensaries in Colorado, approached John P. Inglesino in 2010 about the firm providing him with legal advice on New Jersey’s medical marijuana program and the drafting of CCCAF’s application with the state, the complaint said.

The engagement letter that Weisser signed included a flat fee of $2,500 per month along with the result and annual fees, which were contingent on Weisser or a related entity securing a medical marijuana license, according to the complaint. Weisser later signed a supplemental agreement recognizing that putting together an application by a February 2011 deadline would take considerably more time and resources that the parties had expected, the complaint said.

The firm in July 2011 ended its representation of the defendants, according to the complaint. More than two years later, CCCAF won a permit from the state to cultivate medical marijuana, which was followed by a final permit in November to operate an alternative treatment center, the complaint said.

Since January 2011, Weisser has only paid the firm $36,642, including a $30,000 retainer, according to the complaint.

“Defendants are benefiting from Plaintiff’s legal representation, as Defendants’ Woodbridge facility has recently opened and sales are taking place on a daily basis,” the complaint said. “Defendants have failed to adhere to their contractual obligations with Plaintiff, and as such, have been unjustly enriched as a result of Plaintiff’s legal services.”

Inglesino Wyciskala & Taylor LLC is represented by associate Derek W. Orth.

The case is Inglesino Wyciskala & Taylor LLC v. Weisser et al, case number L-334-14 in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County.