Jim Boyle May 16, 2014, 8:13am


A Philadelphia woman says her termination from a recovery clinic due to history of drug abuse violated her civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to a federal lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Sarah Capanna seeks at least $150,000 in damages from Soar Corporation, which runs a drug recovery clinic on Marshall Street in Philadelphia, where she was a former patient before getting hired as a certified peer specialist in September 2012.

With her status as a rehabilitated drug user, Capanna maintains a disability recognized by the ADA and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA). She claims that her success under Soar's program prompted representatives at the clinic to offer her a job. Capanna says that the management was well aware that she needed continued treatment during her employment.

The plaintiff says she performed her job competently and never received disciplinary actions or warnings. However, in April 2013, she was fired from her position, told by the executive director that the clinic's policy did not allow Capanna to work for them while under treatment.

The claim states that Soar violated Capanna's rights by discriminating against her disability. She says she suffered emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem and the loss of potential future earnings. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, back pay and payment for future wages and coverage for court costs.

Capanna is represented by Kevin Lovitz of the Philadelphia-based Lovitz Law Firm.

The federal case ID number is 2:14-cv-02705-MMB.

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