Carl W. Cooke, a perennial would-be manufacturer of pharmaceutical bottles with child-resistant safety caps, apparently has teamed up with businessmen in Michigan to launch a new business based on an old theme. Cooke is the subject of several civil and criminal lawsuits related to nonpayment of employee benefits and wages from previous companies and has filed personal bankruptcy proceedings. The Internal Revenue Service plans to auction his safety-cap patent. Even so, Cooke has reappeared, in a plan for a new business in Michigan.
Cooke and his patent are mentioned prominently in plans for Pharmaceutical and Medical Plastics Inc., a firm incorporated in Michigan in January by Dennis E. Miller of Plainwell, Mich., and Frederick L. Kline. Miller, Kline and Cooke could not be reached for comment.
Cooke is facing six criminal counts of theft from employees. In a civil case in Indiana, 31 employees of a former business he operated in Elkhart are demanding $150,000 in back wages.
Meanwhile, the IRS continuesto pursue the auction of a patent Cooke holds for pharmaceutical caps. The IRS filed a lien against that patent in 1993 in pursuit of $800,000 in back taxes that Cooke allegedly owed then.
The auction was forestalled by Cooke's bankruptcy filing in January 1994, but an IRS spokesman said Dec. 4 the agency expects to conclude the sale soon.
The business plan for PMPI does not say Cooke that is an executive or an investor, but the plan indicates that patent No. 4,739,890 - the one on which the IRS holds a lien - would be used to produce child-resistant caps for prescription vials, and it refers in consistently positive ways to the patent and Cooke's previous businesses as evidence of PMPI's chances for success.
The plan further states: ``The patent has recently been appraised and valued at $375 million.''
The IRS said it has not established a value for the patent.
Companies Cooke founded or attempted to start repeatedly have fallen short of their promise, with several declaring bankruptcy and several generating complex legal suits that involved either investors, business partners or former employees from Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington, New York and, most recently, Indiana.
His failed firms also tied up a number of injection presses and machinery makers in legal suits in several states.