Bus driver files suit against MTS over pot brownie incident

Mark Hall says he unknowingly ate laced brownie

SAN DIEGO - The Metropolitan Transit System driver who said he unknowingly ate a brownie laced with marijuana is now suing his employer.

Mark Hall, one of three drivers who consumed the brownies made by a co-worker, said he hasn't been paid in three weeks. He has been on leave from his job since the August incident, and when he tried to go back to work, he said MTS officials made it hard for him.

"They said in order for me to return to work that I would have to submit to a drug counselor and that I would be put on a non-safety sensitive position," said Hall.

Hall refused, and he told 10News, "Somehow or other, as you live your life, you have to have some integrity. You got to feel like you have a degree of justice."

On Wednesday, Hall showed 10News a letter from MTS that told him if he did not take a drug test by this Friday, MTS will consider it as though he's abandoned his job.

MTS officials wouldn't discuss the details of Hall's employment, calling it a personnel matter. A spokesman said MTS has done everything possible for Hall to return to work.

In the lawsuit filed against MTS Wednesday, Hall is asking for back pay for the last three weeks. He filed the complaint on his own because he said he doesn't have enough money to hire a lawyer.

Hall wants his record wiped clean so he can apply for other driving jobs.

"The marijuana in my system stayed in my MTS driving record," Hall said.

Attorney Jan Ronis, who is not representing Hall, believes MTS -- a tax-funded agency -- has a lot to lose.

"They're running the risk of spending a whole [lot] of money defending a lawsuit that sounds to me like they're likely to lose …," Ronis said.

Hall is not asking for his old job back. He said even if MTS called him tomorrow and offered it to him without any conditions, he would not accept it.

"People don't like to be bullied," said Hall. "MTS, to me at this time, is a big bureaucratic bully."

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