AKC/CHF LOSES LAW SUIT
Former AKC/CHF Director Deborah Lynch
awarded $544,000 plus monetary damages in her suit
against the AKC Canine Health Foundation, which included former CHF President, popular AKC
judge John Studebaker.
TheDogPress - AKC never loses but this time
it did when the former Director of the Canine Health Foundation sued for
discrimination, defamation, etc. The story begins here with two
official releases by the American Kennel Club, followed by letter to
TheDogPress from AKC's VP and General Counsel, and links to coverage by
AKC Historian, Louis Fallon.
AKC STATEMENT ON AKC/CHF LAWSUIT
York, NY – The
American Kennel Club (AKC) has been informed by the AKC Canine
Health Foundation of an unfavorable verdict in the case of
Deborah Lynch v. AKC/CHF.
shares their disappointment and is hopeful that an appeal will
prove favorable. In spite of this outcome, the AKC is
proud of the AKC Canine Health Foundation and all that it has
achieved and will continue to support the important work of the
Foundation to improve the health and welfare of all dogs.
1995, the AKC Canine Health Foundation is a registered 501(c)3
public nonprofit organization governed separately by its own
Canine Health Foundation Statement on Lawsuit
RALEIGH, NC – May 4, 2005 – We have
received the results of the lawsuit brought by Mrs. Deborah
Lynch, a former employee of our organization. The
plaintiff received a judgment in the sum of $544,000. We
are extremely disappointed and will certainly appeal this
We want all concerned donors and
supporters of the foundation to be assured that we believe that
our insurance will cover any eventual liability and that their
contributions, both past and future are secure and will be used
for their intended purpose.
The AKC Canine Health Foundation has an
outstanding record of funding important canine health research,
including groundbreaking revolutionary methods of combating the
dreaded diseases that affect dogs and humans alike.
Please log on to our web site at
www.akcchf.org to learn more about the Foundation.
Your continued support is very important to us and to your dogs.
Canine Health Foundation, founded in 1995 by the American
Kennel Club, is the largest nonprofit worldwide to fund health
research exclusively for canines. Its goal is to help dogs live
longer, healthier lives. Because more than 97 percent of the
canine genome is the same as the human genome, much of the
research on canine diseases applies to people as well. In
this, our tenth anniversary, the AKC Canine Health Foundation is
proud to announce it has allocated more than $13 million in
canine health research through 52 schools and research
institutions for about 270 studies. About 75 studies have been
completed, with results that include identifying genetic markers
for diseases. For more information about how you can “Double the
Dollars for Dogs” see
www.akcchf.org, or call toll free 1-888-682-9696.
05|08|05 TheDogPress Editor and
Staff - Neither the American Kennel Club nor the AKC/CHF
statements say much but then what do we expect? What can
either organization say that doesn’t sound like someone is
guilty of Age Discrimination, Defamation of Character, and
unfair Retaliation against former Executive VP Debbie Lynch?
The AKC Canine Health
Foundation lost! To the tune of over half a million!
Of course it will appeal but this should never have happened in
the first place. The CHF serves a marvelous purpose and
under the strong leadership of John Studebaker (an AKC Judge who
pioneered DNA for the canine) it accomplished a lot of good
before President Studebaker was replaced this March.
also held personally liable for financial damages. Former
President Howard Falberg escaped the jury’s wrath with only an
$8,000 penalty compared to the $60,000 cost to Studebaker.
If the appeal is lost, AKC’s insurance will pay the personal
liability awards against Falberg and Studebaker. One might
wonder how costly the appeal will be because we’re told that Ms.
Lynch’s attorney is top-notch in the employee-employer field and
rarely loses. So the battle, if fought again, may turn out
the same. Read that as costly!
the AKC/CHF just “let her go” with a nice severance package?
That’s what AKC does. What exactly did Canine Health
Foundation officials do by
way of Retaliation? It is generally considered as getting
even with someone for filing a suit.
AKC set up the
AKC Canine Health Foundation as a separate entity. Non
profits are designed to accept direct contributions and in this
case, to direct funds towards projects to benefit dogs.
has done that.
Notably, AKC just committed another two
million to the CHF, and one might presume a good portion of that
will be used to help offset legal fees. It would seem that
they are not exactly totally and distinctly separate but that is
often the case with spin-off corps and subsidiaries. Surely AKC,
as the largest contributor to the Foundation, would have some
oversight or input and if so, perhaps the AKC Board should be
held partially responsible for not staying on top of its
multi-million dollar beneficiary.
We will keep
you informed of appeals and progress but in the meantime, don’t
hesitate to support the AKC Canine Health Foundation.
There is no guarantee that the Donations will go to the dogs
instead of the lawyers but the CHF has made possible huge
advances in canine health. It will continue to do so, and with
the amount of non-taxable income projected, this lawsuit is just
a little bump in the road albeit one which could have been
06|03|05 - UPDATE:
In offering background and sharing
reader's speculation, we took some criticism regarding the syntax on the
headline, for which we apologize. We also received a tremendous
volume of supportive mail and comments from readers. The jury
decision is under appeal.
We requested information from AKC, but
so far all that has been forthcoming is an email exchange from AKC's VP
welcome your comments and remain responsive to your criticisms.
One such criticism came in the form of a second directive from the AKC
General Counsel, Mr. Michael Swick, to wit:
>> My email was clear. Your article
was totally incorrect as regards the American Kennel Club. We do not
find it acceptable. If you want detail, we suggest you call CHF which
was the party to the lawsuit and can answer your questions. Simply put
you need to retract and state that the AKC was not a party to the
lawsuit so therefore no judgement was entered against the AKC. You
may consider this official so no further speculation is necessary.
Michael F. Swick, VP / General Counsel, AKC, 212-696-8311 <<
hope Mr. Swick's email clears up any misconception we might have created
with any comment we made when publishing the official releases from AKC
and AKC CHF. We invite AKC, CHF, or any individual to comment on
the situation, including the details provided in an article by Mr. Fallon (link
We will publish newsworthy information and as alluded to
by Dog News, if there is any proven error in reportage, we will
retract or correct our error. In the meantime, the story stands as
The AKC/CHF story has
been downplayed by the weekly and monthly dog publications. We
agree it is a sad situation from any
perspective but we believe the story should be available to the fancy,
not buried under "all is fine" comments.
The email from AKC General Counsel
is greatly respected but there are details not covered in the official press
releases. It is not a pretty picture but
Woman Bites CFH
presents more of the story by our AKC Historian, a man who KNOWS the AKC.
Before you go to Fallon's coverage,
you should know that allegations have surfaced indicating that the AKC/CHF Board, just days before the trial, backed a request by new
President Wayne Ferguson to indemnify those who might bear a financial
loss. We're told CHF attorneys were saying all was ok, so why was
this done? And was it actually illegal?
Of course there are
two sides to that story but neither one gives the AKC/CHF a pass on the
charge that money donated in good faith was pledged to guarantee
protection for Board Members! If former CHF Presidents Studebaker
and Falberg were acting on behalf of the AKC/CHF, then maybe the CHF
board should take the financial hit? If they were acting without
the knowledge, approval or consent of the AKC/CHF when they did further
damage to Ms. Lynch (as decided by the jury) then they should pay the
In either scenario, why should money contributed
to benefit the dogs be used to offset $70,000 damages for
What a sad day for the dogs.
That was all the
GO TO CHF LAWSUIT to
read the "rest of the story."
direct from Deborah Lynch and Louis Fallon.
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