Cannabis-based Pharmaceuticals Company Founder Files Suit for Wrongful Termination

Gary M. Cohen, a cannabis-based pharmaceuticals company founder, filed suit for wrongful termination against the company as well as its board of directors. The suit was filed in Hillsborough County, Florida in Circuit Court where Mr. Cohen made allegations that he was terminated after he pointed out a number of corporate wrongdoings and attempting to have CannaPharmaRX’s director and chairman of the board, Gary Herick, removed from his position with the company.

According to Cohen, his lawsuit serves as a derivative action because the cannabis-based pharmaceuticals company, CannaPharmaRX, was harmed as a result of the defendants’ corporate waste, mismanagement and breach of fiduciary duties to their investors. The suit was removed to U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The suit also lists four board members as co-defendants: Gerald Crocker, James Smeeding, Matthew Sherwood, and Robert Liess.

A few examples of the allegations that Cohen is making against CannaPharmaRX include: tax fraud through assignment of personal expenses as business expenses, withholding FICA and social security taxes on employee payroll, failure to accede to demands made by the plaintiff for corporate accounting records, etc.

Cohen claims that as a result of his insistence on receiving the requested information and his insistence that they stop engaging in illegal activities, the board conspired to have him removed from his positions at CannaPharmaRX as well as “steal” his 2.25 million shares of stock in the company. He claims that his removal was retaliation and therefore qualifies as a violation of Florida’s Whistleblower Act, 448.102(3), Florida Statutes. 

To discuss the details of your own termination, or what qualifies as wrongful termination, please contact your southern California employment law experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.