Scranton Quincy Clinic Co. v. Palmiter

This case presented the Pennsylvania Superior Court with an issue of first impression: Whether the Medical Marijuana Act (“MMA”) creates a private remedy for violations of § 2103 of the Act, which focuses on protecting employee-patients certified to use medical marijuana from employers who would penalize them for availing themselves of the benefits conferred by the statute. (SPOILER: It does.) In December 2018, Ms. Palmiter, who worked as a medical assistant at a hospital, was prescribed medical marijuana. When Ms. Palmiter appeared for a scheduled employment-related drug test, she informed the lab that she was prescribed medical marijuana and provided a copy of the certification. One week later, Ms. Palmiter received a call stating she could not work for the hospital because she failed the drug test. Ms. Palmiter sued, alleging five causes of action: violation of the MMA; breach of contract; invasion of privacy; wrongful discharge; and intrusion on seclusion. The hospital filed preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer alleging the complaint failed to state a claim under any of those theories. The trial court overruled the preliminary objections to the count asserting a private cause of action under the MMA and the count alleging a wrongful discharge based on a violation of public policy. The Superior Court affirmed. The Court applied the principles of statutory construction and determined there was “no impediment to Ms. Palmiter maintaining a private action under the MMA or a wrongful discharge action.”

Palmiter