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Robert Reilly v. Lehigh Valley Hospital

March 15, 2012

ROBERT REILLY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LEHIGH VALLEY HOSPITAL, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Henry S. Perkin, M.J.

MEMORANDUM

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Lehigh Valley Hospital's Motion for Summary Judgment filed April 1, 2011. Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment was filed May 9, 2011. With leave of Court, Defendant Lehigh Valley Hospital's Reply Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment was filed June 7, 2011. Having reviewed and considered the contentions of the parties, the Court is prepared to rule on this matter.

Procedural History

On November 9, 2009, Plaintiff Robert Reilly ("Reilly") initiated this matter by filing a two-count Complaint against Defendant Lehigh Valley Hospital ("LVH") in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County. Count I of Reilly Complaint asserts a federal law cause of action pursuant to Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA").*fn1 Count II avers a pendent state law cause of action pursuant to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA").*fn2 According to his Complaint, Reilly contends that LVH wrongfully terminated his employment in violation of the ADA and PHRA because it regarded him as a former alcoholic and drug addict.

On December 7, 2009, LVH filed a Notice of Removal based on the federal ADA claim. On December 14, 2009, LVH filed its answer to the Complaint. The parties engaged in discovery and the Court, by virtue of its December 8, 2010 Rule 16 Scheduling Order, directed that all dispositive motions (including a separate, short and concise statement of material facts) be filed on or before April 1, 2011.

Facts

Based upon the record papers, exhibits, depositions, and the parties' statements of the facts,*fn3 the pertinent facts to this Court's determination are as follows:

LVH employed Reilly as a part-time security officer in its Security Department from August 10, 2006 until his employment was terminated on May 2, 2008.

Reilly completed and signed an LVH employment application on May 4, 2006. On August 1, 2006, as part of the LVH hiring process, Reilly completed and signed a seven page employer health information document known as the "Lehigh Valley Health Network Pre-Employment Physical Authorization and Subsequent Physical Requirements" form ("Employee Form"). The next to the last question on the Employee Form asked Reilly the following question: "Have you ever been recognized as or diagnosed with alcoholism or drug addiction." Reilly answered "no." The last question on the Employee Form asked Reilly the following question: "Have you ever been or are you now being treated for alcoholism or drug addiction." Again, Reilly answered "no." Reilly also left blank the Employee Form's follow-up inquiry, which stated: "If so, specify type of treatment."

The Employee Form contains the following attestation language:

I have reviewed the foregoing statement. This information is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and I understand that any falsifying of this information could result in withdrawal of the employment offer or if subsequently discovered termination of my employment.

Reilly, by signing the Employee Form, understood that his signature certified to LVH that the information which he provided on this pre-employment record was true and correct to the best of his knowledge.

Reilly recognizes himself as having been an alcoholic since 2002 and has admitted that he recognized himself as an alcoholic when he signed the Employee Form on August 1, 2006. Reilly regularly attended Alcoholics Anonymous ("AA") meetings from 2002 through at least November 5, 2010, which was the date of his deposition. On August 1, 2006, when Reilly completed and signed the Employee Form, he attended AA meetings every other day.

Reilly admits that he was a drug addict from 1997 to 2002. Beginning in 2002, Reilly, because of his then serious drug abuse, began attending daily Narcotics Anonymous ("NA") meetings. On August 1, 2006, when Reilly completed and signed the Employee Form, he attended NA meetings every other day. Reilly admits that he recognized himself as a recovering drug addict when he completed and signed the Employee Form.

Reilly pleaded guilty to Driving Under the Influence ("DUI") criminal charges brought in Bucks County in 1995. As a result of his DUI conviction, Reilly attended the Livengrin drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility, through the court's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition ("ARD") program. Livengrin describes itself on its website as "[a] Network of Seven Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment & Rehab Centers." http://www.livengrin.org/liv_html/mission.html (last accessed on February 7, 2011). Livengrin's website states that its "Vision" is "[t]o continue to earn the respect and trust of our patients and our profession, and the recognition as one of the premier providers of addictiontreatment services in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation." Id. (last accessed on February 7, 2011). Reilly attended approximately 40 hours of programs at Livengrin and he also met with Livengrin's drug and alcohol addictions professionals. Reilly avers that he attended Livengrin believing that the fulfillment of the program was a requirement of his DUI arrest.

On April 5, 2008, while working night shift as a security officer, Reilly sustained an eye injury, which he believed was work related. At the end of his shift, Reilly returned home and his wife drove him to the LVH-Muhlenberg Campus Emergency Room ("LVH-ER") for emergency eye treatment. While in the LVH-ER, Reilly disclosed to an LVH-ER healthcare provider that he had a history of drug use involving narcotics and that he was a recovering drug addict. This information was recorded by the LVH-ER healthcare provider on a LVH document labeled "Emergency Department Physician Clinical Report" ("LVH-ER Clinical Report"). The "SOCIAL HISTORY" portion of the LVH-ER Clinical Report ...


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