Connecticut Federal Court Case on Medical Marijuana
A Connecticut Federal Court recently decided Cross Motions for Summary Judgment in favor of the Plaintiff in a medical marijuana matter involving Connecticut’s medical marijuana law. Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC. d/b/a Bride Brook Health and Rehab. Ctr., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150453 (D. Conn. Sept. 5, 2019).
On September 5, 2018, In its Order on Cross Motions For Summary Judgment, United States District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer held that SSC Niantic Operating Company, LLC d/b/a Bride Brook Health & Rehabilitation Center had discriminated against the plaintiff, Katelin Noffsinger in violation of the Connecticut Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA), Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 21a-408 et seq. This decision is subject to appeal.
As the Court notes in its Order:
PUMA prescribes qualifying conditions for a person to use marijuana for medical purposes. It also contains an anti-discrimination provision that bars an employer from refusing to hire a person or from discharging, penalizing or threatening an employee solely because of the person’s status as a qualifying medical marijuana patient under state law. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 21a-408p (b) (s).
This matter involved a contingent offer of employment made to the plaintiff, Katelin Noffsinger, and the rescission of that offer by Bride Brook Health & Rehabilitation Center after her drug test came back positive. The Court granted Summary Judgment in favor of the Plaintiff on her PUMA discrimination claim. However, Defendant ’s request on attorney’s fees and punitive damages for Plaintiff’s PUMA claim and for the negligent infliction of emotional distress were both granted. The issue of compensatory damages remains outstanding, and joint trial memorandums are to be filed by both parties on this
This is a decision that could have an impact for all employers, especially, but not limited to, those employers doing business in Connecticut and it, therefore, may be appropriate to review this Order with your legal counsel to determine whether and how it may impact your organization.