JOHNSTOWN - A Supreme Court judge has upheld three allegations made by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a lawsuit against Patrick Cunningham and his Hudson River Rafting Company.
Judge Richard C. Giardino ruled March 29 on three of four causes in the lawsuit filed last fall, after a HRRC customer lost her life while white water rafting on the Indian River. Her guide has confessed to being drunk.
Giardino agreed Cunningham had employed unlicensed guides to pilot whitewater-rafting customers downriver; misrepresented his services in order to sell trips; and hired unlicensed drivers to bus customers to and from the river.
A fourth allegation, that Cunningham falsely advertises safe, guided river rafting trips, will probably go to trial to determine the facts. A hearing was scheduled for April 30.
Assistant Attorney General Vincent Bradley, who is representing the attorney general, says, "Consumers were led to believe they were getting a guided rafting trip that would be as safe as possible. They didn't get it."
Cunningham has steadfastly refused to comment on the case. His attorney is Jason Britt of Glens Falls.
The attorney general wants the court to fine Cunningham and ban him from owning or operating a guided rafting excursion business or, if that does not happen, require him to post a performance bond of $100,000 for reimbursing customers who do not get the advertised rafting experience.
The judge will not order fines or other punishments until after the fourth cause of action is settled. In the meantime, he continued a temporary restraining order that forbids Cunningham and his firm from taking people on whitewater rafting trips.
The season started April 6.