A former Clemson Football coach and a Denver Downs Farm owner are among five hemp farmers suing a Charleston-based company they claim mishandled and destroyed crops or sold them bad seeds, according to a lawsuit filed Oct. 5.
Former Clemson football coach Danny Ford and Tom Garrison, co-owner of Denver Downs Farm, are suing David Bulick — a Charleston-based businessman who operates Charleston Hemp Company and Carolina Botanical Genetics, the two companies named in the lawsuit — after they claimed he destroyed both of their hemp crops due to incorrect processing, the lawsuit alleges.
Hemp can be processed to create CBD oil, a natural chemical found in hemp and marijuana plants known for its health benefits.
In 2018, Bulick was hired to process the farmers’ crop, but botched the processing of it beyond use, according to the lawsuit filed in Anderson County Circuit Court.
“Plaintiffs Ford and Garrison have sustained significant damages, including but not limited to injuries, contaminated and/or unusable product, property damage, property loss, lost income, lost profits, emotional distress, and various other economic and noneconomic damages,” the lawsuit states.
In December, Garrison told The Independent Mail he was facing financial and physical hardships over his failed hemp crops.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life, with the hemp crop… and I’ve never seen a more depressed (agriculture) economy than I’m seeing right now. It’s just gloom and doom, man.”
Ford and Garrison were among the first farmers in South Carolina selected to grow hemp as part of the Dept. of Agriculture’s pilot program.
Three other Plaintiffs, farmers Stevie Timm, Jim Huston and Haley Mullen, bought seeds from Bulick that “were useless and unmarketable, rendering them worthless,” according to the lawsuit.
Bulick made false statements about Garrison and Ford’s “competence as farmers such that… Ford and Garrison were unfit for their trade or occupation,” the lawsuit alleges.
Ford, Garrison and three Alabama farmers are suing Bulick and his two hemp processing companies for negligence, recklessness,defamation and libel, according to the lawsuit. They are seeking a jury trial to settle the dispute, per the complaint.
“Due to the pending litigation, we are unable to comment beyond the allegations of the complaint, but we stand by those allegations. We believe that accountability is important, particularly in relatively new industries like the South Carolina hemp industry, and we will look forward to pursuing accountability at a jury trial when the time comes,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Kyle White, said in an email statement to The Mail.
The Mail has reached out to Bulick for comment.
Zoe covers Clemson for The Greenville News and Independent Mail. Reach her at [email protected] or Twitter @zoenicholson_
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