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story.lead_photo.caption Green Springs Medical, one of two medical marijuana dispensaries operating in Garland County. - Photo by Grace Brown of The Sentinel-Record

An amended order issued Monday at the request of The Sentinel Record's attorney unsealed much of the transcript from a hearing earlier this month in the lawsuit involving the principals of Hot Springs' only licensed medical marijuana purveyor.

Special Judge Ted Capeheart amended his Oct. 22 order sealing the transcript from the Oct. 7 open hearing in Garland County Circuit Court of Bruce Simpson's petition for a preliminary injunction enjoining Dragan Vicentic from excluding him from management decisions and profits related to Green Springs Medical LLC dispensary.

The newspaper, through its attorney, Alec Gaines of Williams & Anderson PLC, requested that the court grant public access to the transcript, citing Arkansas Supreme Court Order No. 19, which provides that once information is "disclosed in open court and is part of a verbatim transcript of court proceedings ... the information is not excluded from public access."

The newspaper requested a copy of the transcript Oct. 10. On Oct. 22, Vicentic's attorney filed a motion to seal.

Capeheart's original order granted the motion, ruling the 170-page transcript chronicling the four-hour hearing disclosed sensitive security and financial information not subject to the state's public records law.

The Legislature amended the statute earlier this year to exclude information related to security procedures at medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities from the public domain.

Capeheart's amended order cited the high court directive on access to court records, unsealing the transcript save for information "that would present an unacceptable risk to security or personal safety, reveal proprietary information or commercially sensitive information, compromise personal financial information or identify patients."

The order said redactions were made with input from both litigants.

Green Springs began operating in May, becoming one of the first of 32 dispensaries licensed statewide to open. Simpson, listed as the minority owner and security manager/vice chairman on the dispensary application, sued Vicentic, whom the application listed as a majority owner and CEO/chairman of the board, last month, claiming he has been deprived of profits and influence due to him as a corporate officer of the company.

The response to Simpson's complaint said he's not a valid member of the corporation Vicentic formed prior to applying for a dispensary license. Ownership percentages listed on the application confer no right to ownership, the response said, asserting the company's operating agreement gives Vicentic ultimate authority over the business and Simpson's limited investments of money and time don't warrant a financial or managerial stake in the business.

Local on 10/30/2019

Print Headline: Judge partially unseals transcript in dispensary case

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