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Washabaugh v. Gaudenzia, Inc., 2024 Pa. Super. LEXIS 194 (May 17, 2024) (Olson, J.).

Appellant, Ali Washabaugh, appeals from the order entered August 29, 2023, granting Appellee Gaudenzia, Inc.’s (“Gaudenzia”) motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissing her complaint with prejudice. We affirm.

Appellant challenges the trial court’s determination that a two-year statute of limitations applied to the instant matter, as opposed to a six-year statute of limitations. The determination of which statute of limitations applies to a cause of action is “purely a question of law[. A]ccordingly, our standard of review is de novo, and our scope of review is plenary.” Ash v. Cont’l Ins. Co., 593 Pa. 523, 932 A.2d 877, 879 (Pa. 2007).

To determine which statute of limitations applies, the court must look to the nature of the claim pursued. See KEM Res., LP v. Deer Park Lumber, Inc., 310 A.3d 142, 151 (Pa. 2024) (explaining that the Court was required to “determine the nature of [the appellant’s] accounting claim” to find “the applicable statute of limitations”).

A review of Appellant’s complaint reveals the following. First, Appellant’s complaint set forth “a cause of action for wrongful termination ‘on the basis of her status as an individual who is certified to use medical marijuana.'”

It is unquestionable that Appellant’s claim sounded in “tortious conduct,” which is governed by the two-year statute of limitations set forth in 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5524.

Appellant herein urges this Court to follow in the footsteps of Gabriel and Taha and apply a six-year statute of limitation to claims brought under the MMA. In so doing, however, Appellant overlooks a key fact that undermines her position. Specifically, Appellant does not acknowledge that, unlike the UTPCPL and CHIRA, the General Assembly did not include a private right of action under the MMA. Compare 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9183 (allowing for private causes of action under the CHIRA); 73 P.S. § 201-9.2 (allowing for private causes of action under the UTPCPL). To the contrary, this Court in Palmiter v. Commonwealth Health Systems Inc., held that a single, implied cause of action existed within the MMA. 2021 PA Super 159, 260 A.3d 967 (Pa. Super. 2021). In particular, this Court looked to “the mischief to be remedied, the object to be obtained, and the consequences of a particular interpretation” and found that a private right of action under Section 10231.2103(b) of the MMA should be implied to ensure “a public policy designed to protect certified users of medical marijuana from employment discrimination and termination.” Id. at 976-977. Hence, unlike Gabriel and Taha, this Court does not face a variety of actions under the MMA and, in turn, the possibility that courts will apply varying or inconsistent limitations periods. Instead, at this juncture, only one private cause of action is recognized under the MMA – wrongful discrimination and termination — which, in turn, results in the application of only one limitations period. While the MMA may, one day, be considered sui generis in nature and, in turn, require a further review of the applicable statute of limitations, that is not the current state of the law and we decline Appellant’s invitation to assume as such.

Based upon the foregoing, we affirm the trial court’s order granting Gaudenzia’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissing Appellant’s complaint with prejudice.