So let me back up. I actually was served with my subpoena way back in November. As you will see if you click that link, it basically wanted every document in my possession related to Spokane Civic Theatre dating back to before I had ever even heard of the place. Fortunately for me, because Yvonne A.K. Johnson appealed the SLAPP ruling, my representation is still being paid for by my insurance company. We objected on that grounds that their request was:
...overbroad, unduly burdensome, vague and ambiguous, seeking information that is neither relevant to the matter in controversy, nor likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence at trial, seeking information protected by the work-product doctrine and attorney-client privilege, and seeking to impose upon [me] obligations beyond those required by CR 45. Johnson's subpoena is an obvious attempt to conduct discovery in Johnson v. Ryan, Spokane County Superior Court Cause No. 13-2-01362-7, wherein Johnson's suit was dismissed pursuant to Washinton's anti-SLAPP statute, currently on appeal."Unsurprisingly, Johnson filed a Motion to Compel Compliance with the subpoena. A hearing date of January 31 was set. (It is worth noting that they did this while we were in the middle of writing our response brief for the Court of Appeals, which was due on February 3rd.) We filed our Opposition to Plaintiff Yvonne A.K. Johnson's Motion Motion to Compel, but we simultaneously said (I'm paraphrasing here) "Hey...you know what? We're happy to turn over materials that could conceivably be considered related to your suit." That boiled down to "(1) correspondence with the board, as it could, conceivably, document the board's knowledge, information, or actions; and (2) correspondence with others regarding knowledge of and information related to Johnson's termination, which could conceivably document the board's knowledge, information or actions in discussing the same." Knowing full well that they would get nothing more than that from the judge, they accepted our offer (retaining their right to refile at a later date) and the hearing was cancelled.
Now it's time for other parties to deal with this garbage. To date, I am aware that Patrick Treadway, Abbey Crawford, Chris Wooley, Wendy Klaue and Troy Nickerson have all received subpoenas requesting
...any and all correspondence, documents, diaries, letters, electronic communications, including, but not limited to, text messages; social media posting, messages, and chats; instant messages; and electronic mail correspondence, draft and final, personal and/or professional, within your personal control and possession; relating to (a) James Ryan; (b) Yvonne Johnson; (c) Spokane Civic Theatre; (d) Spokane Civic Theatre's Board of Directors; (e) Larry Wooley; (f) Robert Mielbrecht; (g) the website and/or Facebook for "civic doody;" (h) Joanne Keyes; and/or (h) the termination of the Spokane Civic Theatre's Executive Artistic Director from January 1, 2010 to the present. (emphasis added)This is just bald-faced nonsense and they know it — or they would have taken their motion to compel evidence from me all the way to the judge. There is simply no justification for seeking this sort of information from parties that were mere bystanders, as I was, to the termination of Yvonne A.K. Johnson from Civic. This is nothing more than a nuisance that will needlessly waste the time and energy of people who have far better things to do, even if Ms. Johnson does not.
In other news...
- It looks like the hearing on the Johnson v. Ryan appeal won't take place until June at the earliest. If I prevail on the appeal, there's always the possibility that Johnson will appeal to the Supreme Court of the State of Washington. If Johnson wins, that takes us back to square one, back in the Superior Court.
- I have received confirmation that the Spokane Civic Board of Directors did, in fact, pay Johnson's original attorney some amount of money to launch her suit against me in the first place. I've heard the excuse that this was a deliberate ploy to ensure that her attorney could not then turn around and participate in a lawsuit against the theater. (Having paid her attorney directly would have created a conflict of interest.) I'm not sure how compelling I find that excuse, nor am I sure how much solace its truth would give me as I continue to defend myself against this nonsense.