Supreme Court will hear case claiming California company’s CBD product got trucker fired

By LINDSAY WHITEHURST | Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear an appeal from a CBD hemp oil maker fighting a lawsuit from a truck driver who says he got fired after using a product falsely advertised as being free from marijuana’s active ingredient.

Douglas Horn says he took the product to help with chronic shoulder and back pain he had after a serious accident. The company said it contained CBD, a generally legal compound that is widely sold as a dietary supplement and included in personal-care products, but not THC, which gives marijuana its high, Horn said in court documents.

After a failed routine drug test got him fired, Horn says he confirmed with a lab that the product did have THC. He sued the Vista, California, company under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, among other claims, alleging the THC-free marketing amounted to fraud.

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The law known as RICO was crafted as a tool to prosecute organized crime, but people can also file civil suits under it against alleged schemes and collect triple the damages if they win. An appeals court found Horn’s claim should be allowed to go forward.

Medical Marijuana, Inc. appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. The company disputes Horn’s claims and argues that he can’t sue under RICO because he’s claiming a personal injury. Other appeals courts have dismissed RICO suits in similar circumstances, the company said, making this case a good one to decide on a nationwide rule.

Horn, for his part, says his firing was a business injury and he’s been financially ruined.

The case will be heard in the fall.

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