Category: Court Decisions
Colorado Supreme Court agrees to hear case involving paraplegic man who was fired for using medical marijuana.
There is some good news for Brandon Coats. He is a paraplegic man who had excellent job reviews as a customer service at DISH Network in Denver. He was a properly registered user of medical marijuana, which provided relief from the considerable pain he suffered. His employer fired him following a random drug testing, finding THC in his blood. He never used marijuana on the job and he was never under the influence on the job. Colorado attorney Michael Evans has represented Brandon Coats throughout this litigation. John Campbell and I (of Campbell Law, LLC) assisted Mr. Evans in the drafting the Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court. Two days ago, we were happy to learn that the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to hear this case. We will be assisting with writing the brief in the coming weeks. Here is the Colorado Supreme Court’s January 27, 2014 ruling.
In our Petition, we had asserted:
After prolonged treatment with various conventional, prescribed medications failed, a licensed Colorado physician recommended that Mr. Coats medically use marijuana. Mr. Coats registered and received state-approval for medical marijuana use. Thereafter, he used marijuana only in the privacy of his own home and after working hours, in compliance with Colo. Const. art. XVIII, § 14. . . . Despite satisfactory job performance, an absence of work place accommodation, and lack of impairment, DISH fired Mr. Coats solely based on an unknown amount of THC found in his body, the presence of which was the result of his exclusive use of medical marijuana in the privacy of his own home after work. Colorado’s Lawful Activity Statute prohibits employers from discriminating against or terminating employees for engaging in legal off-duty conduct. Both Colo. Const. art. XVIII, § 14 and § 16 permit the use of marijuana for Colorado residents like Mr. Coats.
In its recent Order, the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to consider the following two issues:
Whether the Lawful Activities Statute, C.R.S. section 24-34-402.5, protects employees from discretionary discharge for lawful use of medical marijuana outside the job where the use does not affect job performance.
Whether the Medical Marijuana Amendment makes the use of medical marijuana “lawful” and confers a right to use medical marijuana to persons lawfully registered with the state.
For more information about this compelling case, see this article from the Denver Post.
Thanks to trolls like IPNav, the Times explains, U.S. companies are forced to spend upwards of $30 billion every year on patent litigation. Most of that money goes to troll profits and legal expenses, with less than 25 percent flowing to inventors. Even Spangenberg concedes that his business uses “the courts as a marketplace, and the courts are horribly inefficient and horribly expensive as a market.” Patent trolls like IPNav are a symptom of a fundamentally broken system.
There is debate about the definition of patent trolls, but the term broadly refers to people who sue companies for infringement, often using patents of dubious value or questionable relevance, and then hold on like a terrier until they get license fees. In recent years, patent trolls — they prefer “patent assertion entities,” or P.A.E.’s — have gone from low-profile corporate migraine to mainstream scourge. This is partly because the number of patent infringement suits has more than doubled in recent years, to 4,731 cases in 2012 from 2,304 in 2009, according to that RPX report. The cost to businesses, which pass along the expense to consumers, is immense. One study found that United States companies — most of them small or medium-sized — spent $29 billion in 2011 on patent assertion cases.
What I just learned from Harper’s Index from the August 2013 issue of Harpers: The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear only 1% of all Petitions for Certiorari filed over the past three years. But, if the U.S. Chamber of Commerce files an amicus brief, there is a 32% chance that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear that case.
Those attorneys for the Chamber must be excellent brief writers . . .
In his recent detailed article published in The New Republic, “The Incoherence of Antonin Scalia,” Judge Richard Posner has taken United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s theory of textual originalism to task. Yes, this article presents an extended series of technical legal analyses, but it is written in a way that many lay readers can appreciate. It should be read by anyone who wants to understand the repeated protestations by Justice Scalia that when he rules on case, he is doing so by rigorously paying attention to the actual words of enacted laws. [More . . . ]
Join EFF and the Public Participation Project in calling on Congress to support the PETITION Act, strong federal anti-SLAPP legislation. The concept is simple: when a blogger faces a legal threat for legitimate online content, she can file a motion to get the case dismissed quickly. If the case is found to be frivolous in court, she won’t have to pay the legal fees.”
Here is discussion of a meritless suit against Matthew Inman that illustrates the need for such a law.