NCCCO Prevails in Legal Dispute With Crane School

In a landmark case that has major implications for certification organizations nationwide, the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) today prevailed in a lawsuit brought against it in California Superior Court by California Crane School (CCS) and its owner, John Nypl. After deliberating for less than one day, a 12-member jury returned a complete defense verdict for NCCCO, awarding CCS and Nypl nothing.

In the suit, Nypl claimed that NCCCO and its testing services provider, International Assessment Institute (IAI), intentionally interfered with certain business relationships of CCS and Nypl, with the intention of causing them harm. Nypl sought more than $5 million in damages.

“NCCCO vigorously defended this action in the firm knowledge and belief that its treatment of CCS and Mr. Nypl has been fair and appropriate,” stated NCCCO President, John M. Kennedy. “The decision of the jury in favor of NCCCO is a vindication of the steps NCCCO was obliged to take to prevent damage to the quality and integrity that has become a hallmark of CCO certification over the past fifteen years,” he said.

CCS and Nypl originally demanded more than $30 million from NCCCO. The plaintiffs filed their initial complaints in Oakland and Nevada City, CA, but NCCCO filed successful motions to transfer the litigation to Sonora. The original case also asserted claims for alleged violations of California’s antitrust and unfair competition laws, but those claims were thrown out before trial. Eventually, the case went to trial only on two surviving claims for alleged business interference.

“Whenever there is evidence of inappropriate conduct by firms or individuals who desire to participate in CCO certification programs, NCCCO has an obligation to ensure they comply with all prevailing policies and procedures,” said NCCCO Executive Director, Graham Brent. “To do otherwise could undermine the integrity of CCO certification and put at risk those who rely on it to mitigate the hazards associated with working around cranes.”

Last year, in a separate action brought by NCCCO, a federal judge found that CCS and Nypl were in civil contempt for violating a 2005 permanent injunction against them. The court also found that CCS and Nypl breached a settlement agreement arising out of NCCCO’s 2005 complaint against CCS and Nypl for copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets.

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