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Medical marijuana patient suing Spectrum Health for releasing medical records to employer

Nov 24, 2016

Lawyers for Spectrum Health are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by a patient who alleges the company told her employer she was a medical marijuana patient.

In court documents, Lisa Richlich’s lawyer alleges her Spectrum Health doctor was negligent and invaded his client’s privacy when the doctor sent medical information to Richlich’s employer.

Richlich was to have neck surgery in the spring of 2015. She asked her doctor to send information to her employer, auto-supplier Gentex, about the surgery so that she could get time off under the Family Medical Leave Act.

But the doctor also sent “progress notes” that informed her employer she “uses illicit drugs (marijuana) about five times per week.” She says she had a legal prescription, and used it rarely, but her employer’s policy doesn’t allow marijuana use.

After finding out about the medical marijuana, Gentex gave her a choice; drug counseling or a severance package.  She claims she was pressured into taking the severance. 

Spectrum Health lawyers say the doctor sent the information to protect her job under the Family Medical Leave Act, and it's not liable for the actions she took afterwards.