Following a four-week trial in Sonora, a 12-member jury last week dismissed two business interference claims that a training school lodged against a crane-operator testing company.

This was the third case involving the California Crane School (CCS), Grass Valley, and the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO, or known in the industry as CCO), Fairfax, Va. CCS is a training center that prepares candidates for the NCCCO certification exams.

The parties first met up in 2005 in a suit filed by the NCCCO that claimed unlawful conduct by CCS for using the CCO logo and acronym in certain domain names. A federal judge ruled in NCCCO’s favor.

CCS later sued the commission for violations of the Cartwright Act, the state’s antitrust law, and the California Unfair Competition Law. CCS argued that the agency was monopolizing the field of testing and certifying crane workers. A state judge dismissed the case.

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

In a statement following the verdict, Graham Brent, NCCCO executive director, said that “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.”

Nypl and his lawyer, Joseph M. Alioto, San Francisco, still contend that NCCCO and IAI are conspiring to form a monopoly on crane certifications nationwide. Nypl and Alioto say they plan to appeal.

Says NCCCO’s attorney, John Zarian of Zarian, Midgley & Johnson, Boise City, Idaho, “I’m disappointed to hear [their] appetite for litigation has not been abated.”