By Liam Dynes
Originally published on Nov. 11, 2003, in The Brock Press
David Hornblow has sued the city. He’s named his names and aired his grievances, but we are no closer to knowing the truth about the Lowenberger situation than we were two months ago.
The former city inspector has filed a lawsuit that both builds himself credibility and simultaneously demolishes it. Mr. Hornblow is claiming wrongful dismissal (here he may actually have a case), damage to his reputation and to his ability to find new employment (less likely to succeed in court), and aggravated damages, citing his firing is causing depression, anxiety, and problems sleeping (highly unlikely).
He gains credibility in as much as he has finally buckled down and given names and details in his case, which until now relied entirely on speculation and claims of coercion. He has now named St. Catharines’ chief administrative officer Bob Puhach as his coercer. He has now cited all of the conditions he felt were preventing the Lowenberger opening, and has given details of the exact exchanges and arguments that he feels led to his dismissal. Until we start seeing some evidence or responses to refute what he is saying, Hornblow could be said to have scored some points with this.
However, he transversely demolishes this new credibility by making the suit such an all-over-the-map piece of litigation. One almost gets the feeling he shipped in one of the finer ambulance-chasing, shock-value, Lionel Hutz-esque attorneys the United States had to offer to put together the suit. It seems as though the ‘kitchen sink’ wouldn’t have been an out-of-place line item. On top of this, there is no proof or documentation for any of these allegations.
Now, if you’ve done the math involved in this little excursion of the law, you may have come up with some questionable numbers. This is because there is an important factor missing.
Pressure to secure a green light for the Lowenberger inspection was said to come from Puhach, but why? In his statement of claim, Hornblow alleges that “given the high cost … Brock University expressed a strong desire to have students occupy the building on or before Sept. 14.”
Hornblow informed Puhach on or about Sept. 11 that this was impossible. Days later, Hornblow was without a job, and on the 21st, students were living in Lowenberger.
Common logic would say that Puhach would have some reason to pressure Hornblow, indeed, perhaps due to equal pressure he himself was under to get the residence okayed.
Now, let’s think, and think hard. Where would that pressure be coming from?
It may soon occur to some to look for the answer to that question by looking upward, towards our cozy little escarpment.