Alexander Hymowitz: Scott v. City of Buffalo and The Buffalo Fire Department

Alexander Hymowitz: Scott v. City of Buffalo and The Buffalo Fire Department
CANNANNEW REPORT

 Alexander Hymowitz 2021 Index No.805903/2021 (Sup. Ct.) Overview A city of Buffalo firefighter filed an article 78 proceeding seeking reinstatement to his prior job in the Buffalo Fire Department after being terminated for a positive drug test. The plaintiff is a protected medical marijuana patient under New York’s Compassionate Care Act. The collective bargaining agreement, last amended after the Compassionate Care Act was passed, which is utilized by the Buffalo Fire Department fails to make a protective provision for medical marijuana recipients. Plaintiff who is a qualified medical marijuana patient deemed by statute to suffer a “disability” cannot be discriminated against or terminated by employer just for being a medical patient according to New York Public Health Law 3369(1) and (2). Facts Plaintiff brought an article 78 proceeding. In an article 78 proceeding, the petitioner asks a state court to review a decision or action of a New York State official or administrative agency, such as a prison official or the Board of Parole, which you believe was unlawful. In this case the petitioner, Firefighter Scott Martin, a United States Air Force veteran, was a 12-year member of the Buffalo Fire Department (“BFD”) and a member of the Buffalo Professional Fire Fighters Association. Mr. Martin is a qualified medical marijuana patient under New York’s Compassionate Care Act.[1] Furthermore, the Buffalo Fire Department is subject to a collective bargaining agreement that has been the subject of Arbitration proceeding in 2011 resulting in what is commonly referred to as the “Rinaldo Award”.[2] This Rinaldo Award resolved various issues relating to the CBA and established a drug testing and drug treatment protocol for firefighters who tested positive for illicit substances. However, the CBA did not recognize or establish any specific provision for the rights of medical marijuana patients like Plaintiff under New York’s Compassionate Care…

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