Picture of attorney Thomas Mauriello
Justia Lawyer Rating for Mauriello Law Firm, APC

Mauriello Law Firm Wins Appeal in Breach of Contract Case Involving Cannabis Zoning

November 2023

Following oral argument by attorney Thomas Mauriello, the California Court of Appeal in San Diego issued its opinion affirming the trial court’s judgment in favor of Mr. Mauriello’s client, Respondent Ricardo Vidal. The case is Ricardo Vidal v. Pick Axe Holdings, LLC, Case No. D081047, Fourth Appellate District, Division One.

The opinion was issued on November 17, 2023 – a mere two days after the matter was argued before the appeals court.

Thomas D. Mauriello at the 4DCA Division 1 Oral ArgumentA video of Mr. Mauriello’s oral argument in the Court of Appeal may be may be found here. Note: The relevant excerpt starts at 1:07:40 and ends at 1:17:36. It lasts approximately 10 minutes.

A copy of the Court of Appeal opinion may be found here. The opinion was written by Associate Justice Jose S. Castillo and was joined by Associate Justice Terry B. O’Rourke and Associate Justice Julia C. Kelety.

The parties had entered into a contract providing, among other things, that Pick Ax Holdings would file an application with the City of Vista for a conditional use permit (“CUP”) for a multi-tenant commercial building owned by Mr. Vidal to become a cannabis dispensary, and Pick Axe would then lease the property to operate the dispensary. Mr. Vidal had terminated the contract on grounds that Pick Axe had breached the contract by failing to use “best efforts” to locate a tenant for the property, as required under the contract. He sued for breach of contract and declaratory relief. Pick Axe counter-sued for breach of contract and other claims.

After a bench trial, Judge Ronald Frazier ruled that the contract was unenforceable based on “impossibility” of performance, because the property could never be zoned for a cannabis business under the City of Vista’s zoning laws. Pick Axe appealed that ruling, arguing that it could have attempted to have the property re-zoned for cannabis use. The Court of Appeal rejected this argument and affirmed the trial court judgment in favor of Mr. Mauriello’s client, Mr. Vidal.

Client Reviews
Tom, thank you for your all help. Among the three other attorneys I talked with, I chose you because you really listened, asked thoughtful questions and sought all information to understand my situation. That gave me confidence in you above all others. I am a believer in receiving feedback, so I just wanted to share my thoughts with you. If I come across anyone that is looking for counsel in this industry I will certainly refer them your way. Scott Yi, Securities Registered Representative
Thomas was very thorough, kind and truly cared about me and my case. He went above and beyond the call of duty. Every time I contacted him he me made me feel like a very important client. His skills, intelligence and demeanor lead to a victory in the courtroom! Susan De Diminicantanio
As a business development consultant, there have been times to which I am in need of counsel for the review and strategic advice a range of diversified employment and compensation packages. In this sense, Thomas Mauriello has been my trusted counsel, paying particular attention to the settle nuances the language and structure of contractual agreements, and rely heavily on his expert opinion as a plaintiff's lawyer! Emma Makinen, DOAP Kitchens, LLC
Our Family needed an attorney who was knowledgeable with FINRA and Tom proved to be very familiar with FINRA. We found him, trustworthy, thorough, honest and sympathetic during an emotionally stressful time with our Family. Annette Hellmich
I would recommend Mr. Mauriello highly - - to anyone - - - wish I had more friends in the area who need an attorney! He was extremely knowledgeable, timely, courteous, - AND - he won my case! Would call him again in an instant should the need arise. Nancy Brown