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Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings

Supreme Court of New Jersey

February 4, 2020, Argued; March 10, 2020, Decided

A-91 September Term 2018, 082836

Opinion

PER CURIAM

The judgment of the Superior Court, Appellate Division is affirmed substantially for the reasons expressed in Judge Fisher's thoughtful published opinion. We add the following brief comments.

We concur with the Appellate Division that at the pleading stage of this case, in which the facts have yet to be developed and plaintiff is entitled to every reasonable inference of fact, plaintiff has stated a claim sufficient to survive defendants' motion to dismiss under Rule 4:6-2. Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc., 458 N.J. Super. 416, 423-24 (App. Div. 2019) (citing Printing Mart-Morristown v. Sharp Elecs. Corp., 116 N.J. 739, 746 (1989)). We share the Appellate Division's view that there is no conflict between the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana [*9]  Act (Compassionate Use Act), N.J.S.A. 24:6I-1 to - 16,1 and the Law Against Discrimination (LAD), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -49. Id. at 428.

We decline, however, to adopt the Appellate Division's view that "the Compassionate Use Act intended to cause no impact on existing employment rights." Ibid. Plaintiff's LAD disability discrimination claim derived in part from his assertion that, outside the workplace, he lawfully used medical marijuana prescribed for him in accordance with the Compassionate Use Act, which decriminalized the use of medical marijuana for "any qualifying patient, primary caregiver, alternative treatment center, physician, or any other person acting in accordance with" its terms. N.J.S.A. 24:6I-6(a) (2018); N.J.S.A. 2C:35-18. Plaintiff specifically alleged that his medical marijuana was prescribed for "medical treatment [and] pain management" pursuant to the Compassionate Use Act. As plaintiff acknowledged at oral argument, had the Legislature not enacted the Compassionate Use Act, he would have no LAD claim for disability discrimination or failure to accommodate following the termination of his employment.

The Appellate Division correctly identified plaintiff's disability discrimination and failure to accommodate causes of action as LAD claims to [*10]  be evaluated under LAD standards, Wild, 458 N.J. Super. at 429-32; however, the Compassionate Use Act does have an impact on plaintiff's existing employment rights. In a case such as this, in which plaintiff alleges that the Compassionate Use Act authorized his use of medical marijuana outside the workplace, that Act's provisions may be harmonized with the law governing LAD disability discrimination claims.

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2020 N.J. LEXIS 299 *; 2020 WL 1144882

Justin Wild, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc. d/b/a Feeney Funeral Home, LLC; David B. Feeney, and Ginny Sanzo, Defendants-Appellants.

Prior History: On certification to the Superior Court, Appellate Division, whose opinion is reported at 458 N.J. Super. 416 (App. Div. 2019) [*1] .

CORE TERMS

Compassionate Use Act, medical marijuana, accommodate, provisions, disability discrimination claim, workplace, disability discrimination, reasonable inference, employment rights, cause of action, allegations, prescribed, marijuana