A suit has been filed against the Lafayette company which won the right to handle Southern University’s medical marijuana business.
Advanced Biomedics and Lafayette pharmacist Chad Bodin are named as defendants in a suit for damages and breach of contract filed by a company called James Financial, records filed at the Lafayette Parish Courthouse show.
The petition, which was filed today, accuses Bodin and Advanced Biomedics of signing agreements with James Financial that promised a partnership in the marijuana business, simply to get James to pledge financial backing while Advanced Biomedics negotiated its contract with Southern.
Last fall, Southern University awarded a contract to grow, process and distribute medical marijuana to Advanced Biomedics. Advanced Biomedics agreed to construct a 40,000 square foot facility in Baker where the medical pot will be grown and processed. The company expects to employ about 44 people, and pledged to hire Southern University grades.
But a dispute between Bodin, who holds the expertise, and Carencro businessman Carrol Castille, who had the funds to back the venture, led to at least three lawsuits. At issue in the suits is who, really, owns the company: Advanced Biomedics LLC or Advanced Biomedics Holdings LLC. Castille filed suit against Bodin in Lafayette earlier this year, alleging that Bodin went behind his back to negotiate with Southern, and to represent himself as the controlling interest in Advanced Biomedics. Then Bodin filed suit against Castille, accusing him of failing to put up the funds for the venture and failing to meet other requirements to close the deal with Southern.
The dispute threatened to derail the negotiations with Southern, until the contract with the university was finally signed on May 10.
According to the James Financial lawsuit, Bodin and his attorney approached James Financial principal Ian James of Baton Rouge just days before Southern’s contract negotiation deadline "to solicit their investment into AB in place of Castille," the suit states.
The members of James Financial were "excited" about the prospect of investing in the company, and executed a $20 million promissory note, signed an operating agreement, an act of contribution and transfer, and an Act of Acknowledgement of Contract. These documents were executed by the members of James Financial on May 4, the suit states.
James Financial brought these documents to Southern officials that same day – as was requested by Advanced Biomedics, the suit states. Days later, there were meetings among Bodin and James Financial members, and among James Financial members and Southern officials.
But the day after those meetings, the suit states, Bodin’s attorney called to tell James Financial members that Bodin and Castille had worked out their differences, and James Financial’s investment wasn’t needed any longer. The suit also claims that Bodin’s attorney threatened James Financial after someone created a website discussing the situation. Bodin’s attorney allegedly said that Southern was upset about the website, which contained an unauthorized use of the university’s logo, and that they were both blaming James Financial.
The suit claims that James Financial wasn’t involved in any way with the blog post, and it calls Bodin’s claims that they were "false and defamatory." We searched the ownership of the domain and determined it was registered to Domains by Proxy, a company owned by the owner of GoDaddy.com which allows domain owners to hide their identity behind the company.
The suit asks the court to award money to James Financial for damage to its reputation, for breach of contract, for lost profits,and for attorney fees and expenses.
We reached out to Bodin’s attorney late today, after business hours, via email. As soon as we hear from her, we will update this story.