A federal lawsuit against an Oregon cannabis farm will proceed after a judge ruled that a neighboring vineyard's racketeering complaint has merit.
McMinnville-based Momtazi Vineyard's lawsuit claims that neighbor's Mary and Steven Wagner's pot farm contaminated their grapes with the smell of cannabis and caused them to suffer a "concrete financial loss," Capital Press first reported.
The suit was filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, or RICO, a federal act that allows multiple defendants to be tried as part of the same criminal enterprise. It was originally intended to make it easier to prosecute drug cartels and crime rings.
U.S. Senior District Judge Anna Brown denied the Wagners' motion to dismiss Momtazi's lawsuit, ruling that the vineyard could have suffered plausible harm. The Momtazi family filed a suit earlier this year and seek compensation for "three times the damages" allegedly caused by the Wagners' cannabis operation.
The legal battle is similar to one that took place in Sandy last year when an equine lawyer sued more than 200 businesses on grounds that they had done business with a federally illegal cannabis operation.
The outcome of the Momtazi's lawsuit could lay the groundwork for how similar cases are treated in court.
The Wagners could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesperson for Momtazi Vineyard tells WW, "Due to the ongoing status of the case, we are unable to comment on the matter at this time."