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Bruce Chapman and Handle With Care v. New York State Division For Youth

July 18, 2011

BRUCE CHAPMAN AND HANDLE WITH CARE
BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, INC., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
NEW YORK STATE DIVISION FOR YOUTH; NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES; NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES; JOHN JOHNSON, COMMISSIONER OF NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES AND FORMER COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK STATE DIVISION FOR YOUTH, IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; MARGARET DAVIS, FORMER DIRECTOR OF TRAINING FOR THE NEW YORK STATE DIVISION FOR YOUTH AND FORMER DIRECTOR OF TRAINING FOR NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, IN HER OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; PATSY MURRAY, FORMER ASSOCIATE TRAINING TECHNICIAN FOR THE NEW YORK STATE DIVISION FOR YOUTH AND CURRENT TRAINER FOR NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, IN HER OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; CORNELL UNIVERSITY; JEFFREY LEHMAN, PRESIDENT OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY, IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; DR. HUNTER RAWLINGS, III, FORMER PRESIDENT OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY, IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; NEW YORK STATE COLLEGE OF HUMAN ECOLOGY; FAMILY LIFE DEVELOPMENT CENTER; RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE PROJECT; THERAPEUTIC CRISIS INTERVENTION; MARTHA HOLDEN, PROJECT DIRECTOR OF THE RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE PROJECT AND THERAPEUTIC CRISIS INTERVENTION TRAINER AND COORDINATOR, IN HER OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; MICHAEL NUNNO, PROJECT DIRECTOR OF THE RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE PROJECT AND THERAPEUTIC CRISIS INTERVENTION TRAINER AND COORDINATOR, IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; HILLSIDE CHILDREN'S CENTER; DENNIS RICHARDSON, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF HILLSIDE CHILDREN'S CENTER, IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; DOUGLAS BIDLEMAN, EMPLOYEE OF HILLSIDE CHILDREN'S CENTER AND THERAPEUTIC CRISIS INTERVENTION TRAINER, IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; AND JOHN DOE 1 THROUGH 99, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David N. Hurd United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs, Handle With Care Behavior Management System, Inc. ("HWC") and its president, Bruce Chapman ("Chapman," collectively "plaintiffs"), market a behavior management program that is used by professionals who must physically restrain others. Plaintiffs have brought this action against three sets of defendants-the "state defendants," the "Cornell defendants," and the "Hillside defendants"-regarding the alleged misuse of their copyrighted program materials and manipulation of the market for their products. Plaintiffs seek monetary damages and injunctive relief.

The state defendants include: New York State Office of Children and Family Services ("OCFS"), which, in 1998, assumed the functions of defendants New York State Division for Youth ("DFY") and New York State Department of Social Services ("DSS"); John Johnson ("Johnson"), Commissioner of OCFS; and Margaret Davis ("Davis") and Patsy Murray ("Murray"), former OCFS employees. The Cornell defendants include: Cornell University itself; Jeffrey Lehman, the University's former president; Dr. Hunter Rawlings, III, the University's current president; New York State College of Human Ecology ("the College"), a statutory college of the State University of New York; the Family Life Development Center, the Residential Child Care Project ("RCCP"), and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention ("TCI")- alleged subsidiaries of the College; and Martha Holden and Michael Nunno, employees of RCCP and TCI. The Hillside defendants include: the Hillside Children's Center ("HCC"), a private childcare provider and residential treatment center; Dennis Richardson, HCC's president; and Douglas Bidleman, an HCC employee.

On September 29, 2005, defendants' motion to dismiss was granted and the complaint, which contained three federal causes of action and seven state causes of action, was dismissed in its entirety. Chapman v. N.Y. Div. for Youth, 2005 WL 2407548 (N.D.N.Y. 2005). *fn1 Plaintiffs appealed, and, on October 14, 2008, the Second Circuit reinstated only the federal copyright infringement cause of action against the state defendants, noting:

The district court dismissed plaintiffs' copyright claim on the basis that the contract at issue unambiguously granted the state defendants the right to copy plaintiffs' materials indefinitely. We disagree with that conclusion, find the contract ambiguous, and remand the case to the district court to determine the duration of the license to copy plaintiffs' materials granted under the contract.

Chapman v. N.Y. Div. for Youth, 546 F.3d 230, 234 (2d Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 130 S. Ct. 552 (2009).

Therefore, the only cause of action at issue is the federal claim for copyright infringement in violation of the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101--1332 (2006), against the state defendants. *fn2 Further, the only issue to be determined is the duration of the license to copy plaintiffs' training materials.

The state defendants *fn3 have moved for summary judgment, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, regarding the federal copyright infringement claim. Dkt. No. 217. Plaintiffs oppose the motion and have cross-moved for summary judgment. Dkt. No. 227. The motions were considered on submit.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are undisputed. HWC is a New York corporation that provides crisis intervention services and trains childcare workers in physical restraint techniques. On June 7, 1984, Chapman-founder and president of HWC-filed with the United States Copyright Office a manual entitled "Handle With Care - A Revolutionary Approach to Behavior Management" ("the 1984 Manual").

DFY was a New York state agency that, until 1998, was responsible for the care and welfare of juveniles in the state's custody. DFY was obligated by law to train staff to use proper techniques to restrain juveniles in certain circumstances. DSS was a New York state agency that, until 1998, licensed, regulated, and supervised childcare agencies within the state. In 1998, DFY and DSS merged into OCFS, which assumed the functions of the two agencies. At that time, Johnson, who was the Director of DFY, became Commissioner of OCFS. Davis, who was the Director of Training at DFY, became Assistant Director of Training at OCFS but has since retired. Murray, who was Associate Training Technician for DFY, served as a trainer at OCFS from 1998 until 2003.

The interaction between the parties began in late 1987 when DFY and Chapman entered into a contract under which Chapman trained DFY staff in physical restraint techniques between January 1 and March 31, 1988 ("the 1987 Contract"). This contract required Chapman to furnish DFY with a copy of the 1984 Manual, which DFY was permitted to reproduce "in whole or in part as required." The contract also required Chapman to provide a training video "to be used by [DFY]'s master trainers in conducting training programs for facility staff." Thereafter, Davis incorporated descriptions and illustrations of several techniques from the 1984 Manual into an updated DFY trainers' manual. *fn4 To accurately incorporate these techniques into the DFY manual, Davis attended and took notes at Chapman's training sessions. Moreover, a DFY employee created a video of Chapman training DFY staff. Davis provided Chapman with a copy of the updated DFY manual in March 1988 ("the 1988 Manual"). *fn5 Thereafter, Chapman used the 1988 Manual to train other clients.

In April 1996 Chapman sent a letter to Davis in which he advised, inter alia, that he had modified and improved his physical restraint techniques. In November 1996 DFY posted a Request For Bid ("RFB") seeking a vendor to recertify DFY trainers in restraint techniques. DFY specifically sought an instructor to update staff on techniques used in the HWC program. The RFB also indicated that the winning bidder must provide DFY with the rights to reproduce any and all training materials. HWC submitted the only bid, which was signed by Chapman. In a letter accompanying this bid, Chapman ...


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