Labs in Court

Employee Can’t Blame Positive Marijuana Test on Testing Lab’s Negligence

Case: An oil and gas worker was reassigned to a less desirable warehouse position after his hair follicle test came back positive for marijuana. The worker insisted he was clean—his urine drug and alcohol breathalyzer tests both came back negative—and blamed the positive result on the negligence of the lab in collecting and testing the hair sample. The lab contended that the case was baseless. The Louisiana court agreed and dismissed the negligence claims without a trial.

 

Significance: During the summary judgment phase, the plaintiff doesn’t have to prove the case but must show that it’s legally valid to win the chance to go to trial. The worker in this case didn’t do that. The first problem with his negligence case against the testing lab is that it didn’t actually collect the hair sample. Under the employer’s testing regime, a separate lab collects the samples and sends them to the testing lab for analysis. Nor was there any evidence that the lab was negligent in testing the sample, the court concluded, citing the written statement from the lab’s senior analytical chemist for mass spectrometry describing the lab’s utilization of a two-part, FDA-approved hair sample drug test for marijuana detection.

 

[Bass v. DISA Global Sols., Inc., 2020 La. App. LEXIS 1943, 2020 0071 (La.App. 1 Cir. 12/30/20), 2020 WL 7770253]

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