JOE FIASCO: A court reporter referred to attorney Joseph Falasco as "Joe Fiasco" during an email exchange about court transcripts.

The Supreme Court appeal of a Fort Smith marijuana cultivator took an unusual turn last week when the court ordered a lower court to deliver a corrected transcript to the cultivator’s attorney within seven days. 

The normally mundane part of the appeals process, getting the transcript from the court, had devolved into confusion, email arguments and name-calling. 


The transcript ordeal involved Joseph Falasco, attorney for River Valley Relief Cultivation, and his attempts to get the court transcript from court reporter Kim Hardin

River Valley Relief is appealing a ruling by Circuit Judge Herb Wright who ruled last year that the state had erred when it issued a license to the Fort Smith cultivator and owner Storm Nolan. 


At various points in the email correspondence between Falasco and Hardin, which is part of Falasco’s Supreme Court filing, Hardin referred to Falasco as “Joe Fiasco” and said he had filed “frivolous motions.” 

“I have no further remedies for you,” Hardin wrote to Falasco on March 22. “Maybe this will be a good lesson for you to communicate with the court reporter before filing frivolous motions. I’m done!”


Falasco wrote back that he would ask the Supreme Court to resolve the issue and seemed to take the exchange in stride. 

“I trust the misspelling of my last name was an accident, but I certainly appreciate the humor,” Falasco wrote. 

Falasco asked Joanie Harp, an appellate review attorney for the Arkansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, to review the transcript from Hardin to see if it is sufficient. 

Harp replied with several corrections that should be made, including such things as a page that was upside down. 


Kyle Burton, clerk of the Arkansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, had previously weighed in on the matter, saying his office had spoken to Hardin by phone and helped her fix some things that were wrong with the transcript. Burton said he did not know why the transcript still had problems after the phone call. 

Falasco filed a motion with the court on March 23, asking it to resolve the matter by accepting the transcript provided by Hardin, accepting a transcript provided by the clerk of the Supreme Court or requiring the lower court to provide a corrected transcript. The court chose the last option, denying the motion to accept the lower court’s transcript and, instead, requiring the lower court to provide a corrected transcript within seven days. 

The case involves River Valley Relief’s appeal of a circuit court ruling that the state erred when it granted a license to the Fort Smith cultivator. The case, originally brought by 2600 Holdings, argued that the location in River Valley’s application was less than 3,000 feet from a school, that the original business entity had been dissolved and that Nolan no longer possessed the property in his original application.

Wright sided with 2600 Holdings in the case. Doralee Chandler, director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division at the time, ruled in a November hearing that River Valley’s license should be revoked. River Valley has continued to operate while its appeal is in process.