Handle With Care Behavior Management System, Inc. (HWC) recently filed suit in the United States District Court, Northern District of New York, against Cornell. The suit names the College of Human Ecology Family Life Development Center, Residential Child Care Project, Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI), State of New York Office of Children and Family Services and ten individuals such as former President Hunter R. Rawlings III and current President Jeffrey S. Lehman’77.
The charges of the suit are numerous and include breach of contract, copyright infringement, unfair competition, conspiracy and violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
In response to the suit, Cornell has filed a motion for dismissal, but the court will not hear this motion until Jan. 28, 2005.
According to Brendan Kennedy, legal counsel of HWC, the court filing was the final step in a long process of trying to reckon these legal troubles, including the filing of 14 or 15 Freedom of Information Letters.
He stated that the anti-trust claim was the most important claim of the suit.
The suit essentially alleges that Cornell misappropriated HWC copyright materials, training methods and technology in addition to forcing the breach of a contract between HWC and the Hillside Children’s Center in Rochester, N.Y.
HWC President Bruce Chapman, has put the focus of his claims on TCI, which is run by Michael Nunno, through the Family Life Development Center. Nunno refused to discuss the case with The Sun, and referred all questions to Nelson E. Ross, deputy University counsel and litigation section head.
Ross was unavailable for comment, and further referred The Sun to Linda Grace-Kobas, director of Cornell News Service, who called the case “completely without merit.”
She would not discuss the specifics of the issue, and told The Sun that as policy, Cornell does not comment on pending cases.
She added that Cornell’s first step to file a motion for dismissal is “unusual”, and “illustrative of the level with which Cornell holds these allegations.”
Chapman previously made news in Nov. 2002 when he sent various letters to University officials and organizations, including The Sun.
In that initial letter, Chapman claimed that TCI made a training video which unlawfully used his “Two Person Escort Position” that was patent pending at the time.
Kennedy is confident that Cornell’s motion will be dismissed and that the case will go to trial, where he and HWC are well prepared to document Cornell’s abuses.
“We have exhausted every other non-judicial manner to address this issue,” he said.
Cornell has given HWC a “myriad of reasons” why they should not be able to train in health care systems but none have been consistent or reasonable, Kennedy claimed.
Kennedy told The Sun that HWC would soon be amending the suit to include a defamation claim but refused to elaborate further.
HWC concerns itself with methods for subduing out-of-control patients in residential care facilities — especially child care facilities. Their methods have been used to subdue violent patients for over 30 years.
Archived article by Michael Margolis
Sun Senior Writer