NARRATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
MUSIC: Up, then under …
NARRATOR: You’re a Detective Sergeant. You’re assigned to Internet Detail. A blogger is being sued for writing about another lawsuit and questioning the plaintiff’s motives. His employer is being sued as well. Your job … get the facts.
MUSIC: Up then under …
ANNOUNCER: Blognet … the documented drama of an actual case. For the next few minutes, in cooperation with the Twitter Town Sheriff’s Department, you will travel step by step on the side of the good guys through an actual case transcribed from official files. From beginning to end, from crime to punishment, Blognet is the story of the good guys in action.
MUSIC: Up and out.
SOUND: Footsteps on sidewalk. Repeating background PA announcement: “The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers. No parking please.”
FRIDAY: It was Wednesday, March 6th. It was a smog-free day in LA. I was on temporary duty for Internet Detail. My partner, Liz Smith, was back in Westminster with our boss, Twitter Town Sheriff W. J. J. Hoge. My name’s Friday. It was 11:31 am when I walked out of the baggage claim area at LAX.
SOUND: Car pulls up and stops. Car door opens. Car trunk pops open.
BAKER: Good morning, Joe. Throw you bag in the back.
FRIDAY: Hi, JP.
SOUND: Bag dropped in trunk. Trunk slams. Second car door opens. Both car doors close.
SOUND: PA announcement out.
SOUND: Road noise. Car interior POV.
BAKER: Welcome to LAX. It’s good to meet you after all those phone conversations. Ever been here before?
FRIDAY: I used to live up the coast in Ventura County.
BAKER: Well, welcome back. Do you need to stop or check in anywhere first, or should be go straight over my lawyer’s office?
FRIDAY: I’ve got a late arrival reservation. Let’s go straight to the lawyer. Meanwhile, what can you tell me.
BAKER: It’s pretty simple. The plaintiff, her name’s Nast, filed a sexual harassment suit against a coworker. I wrote on my blog questioning some of the details of the case and her motives for filing the suit.
FRIDAY: Uh, huh.
BAKER: There’s a political angle to her case, and it looked fishy to me.
FRIDAY: How’s that?
BAKER: She had been a political operative for one party’s candidate and then was suddenly associated with the other side.
FRIDAY: Is that what drew your suspicions?
FRIDAY: And she’s sued you …
BAKER: … for defamation, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and most of the rest of the usual laundry list.
FRIDAY: So how does your employer figure into this?
BAKER: I work for a government agency. Nast claims that I was blogging on government time and that either I was doing as part of my job or that I wasn’t being properly supervised. That’s why she threw in the civil rights complaint.
FRIDAY: What does you boss say?
BAKER: He thinks it nonsense, but my employer is backing me up on this. Now, it’s my turn to ask. What about this case is worth a trip out here for you?
FRIDAY: Your plaintiff may be tied in with some folks back east who are causing trouble for bloggers back there.
BAKER: Ah. I see. I guess you could say you’ve come to check out a preview of coming attractions.
FRIDAY: And to see how it’s rated.
SOUND: Road noise out.
MUSIC: Stinger and under.
FRIDAY: It was almost noon when I landed, so we stopped for a quick burger on the way the lawyer’s office. It had been a while since I’d had a chili burger at Tommy’s.
12:54 pm. We arrived at the lawyer’s office and were taken to a conference room. The lawyer joined us a couple of minutes later.
SOUND: Door opens and closes.
CARDINALE: Good afternoon.
BAKER: Good afternoon, Kevin. Kevin, this is Sergeant Friday from the Twitter Town Sheriff’s Department. Joe, this is my lawyer, Kevin Cardinale.
FRIDAY: Pleased to meet you, counselor.
CARDINALE: Likewise. OK, what’s up?
FRIDAY: I’ve been sent to dig up whatever’s available on Ms. Nast. We believe that she may be connected to some of the people who are harassing a group of bloggers on the East Coast.
CARDINALE: Where do you want me to begin?
FRIDAY: First, what’s the state of your case as you see it today?
CARDINALE: Back in January, we filed an anti-SLAPP motion against the suit. California has an anti-SLAPP law. SLAPP means Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. It’s designed to prevent shutuppery lawsuits that have no purpose but squelching speech about matters of public interest. Since then, Nast has filed motions opposing both our anti-SLAPP motion and motions to dismiss.
FRIDAY: You’ve filed more than one motion to dismiss? That’s unusual, isn’t it?
CARDINALE: This is an unusual case. Yes, one based on the court not having subject matter jurisdiction on the state law issues and one on the federal civil rights claim.
FRIDAY: What I need to get clear are the basic facts of the case.
CARDINALE: (Fading out) OK. JP jump in on this anytime. Let’s go back to the beginning …
FRIDAY: He was right. It was a somewhat complex case. The briefing went on for over an hour.
BAKER: (Fading in) … but the good news is that my employer has also filed a similar motion.
CARDINALE: I’ve got one more reply to file to one of Nast’s oppositions, and then it should be in the judge’s hands.
FRIDAY: I imagine that he’ll want to wash them thoroughly when he’s done.
MUSIC: Up and under.
NARRATOR: On April 19th, the U. S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled in the matter of Nast v. Baker, et al. In a moment the results of that ruling.
ANNOUNCER: Are you a loyal supporter of Team Lickspittle? While there’s a lot of neat stuff to spend your money on at The Hogewash Store, sometimes you have to buy something useful. When that happens, there’s still away to support Team Lickspittle. Simply use the Amazon link in the sidebar on the Home page. When you shop at Amazon via that link, you’ll pay the same great price, and Hogewash! will get a cut of the action. The Hogewash Store and Amazon—two great ways to support Team Lickspittle. And did you know that there’s a third way as well? Feel free to hit the Tip Jar.
NARRATOR: On April 19th, the U. S. District Court for the Central District of California dismissed Nast’s state law claims. The court also dismissed her civil rights claim with prejudice. Dismissal with prejudice means that the claims may not be refiled. Nast has appealed the District Court’s ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
MUSIC: Theme up and under.
ANNOUNCER: You have just heard Blognet, a series of authentic cases from official files. Technical advice comes from the office of the Twitter Town Sheriff’s Department.
MUSIC: Theme up to music out.
ANNOUNCER: Blognet is a work of fiction. Anyone who thinks it’s about him should read Proverbs 28:1.
Be sure to tune in on Monday evenings at 6 pm Eastern Time for the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed Twitter account, America’s fabulous Internet investigator—Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign. This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System.