Law360 (May 25, 2021, 5:13 PM EDT) — A California judge paused a request by a former Ignite executive to collect attorney fees over claims he was fired for refusing to approve personal expenses under a Paycheck Protection Program loan, giving an appeals court time to examine the cannabis business’ failed anti-SLAPP motion.
After Instagram personality Dan Bilzerian and Ignite International Ltd. lost their anti-SLAPP, or anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation, motion to toss former employee Curtis Heffernan’s suit, Heffernan asked for $97,000 in attorney fees. But during a hearing Tuesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory W. Alarcon put the motion on ice to give the California Appeals Court time to either affirm or reverse the anti-SLAPP motion.
Heffernan in July sued Bilzerian and Ignite, claiming he was fired because he tried to call attention to a proposal to misclassify a government PPP loan as income, among other alleged financial misdeeds at the company.
He said he refused to rubber-stamp Ignite’s funding of personal expenses for Bilzerian, including yacht rentals, trips to London and improvements to Bilzerian’s house.
Heffernan, a former executive vice president, claimed that company principals suggested a number of tactics for hiding Ignite’s cash-flow problems, including overstating the company’s revenue by reporting its PPP loan as “miscellaneous income.”
Published: May 27, 2021
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