Jennifer Strange Trial Coverage: General Counsel Unaware of Safety Guidelines

October 5, 2009

Entercom Communications General Legal Counsel John Dunleavy, in a videotaped deposition of 4-29-08, went head to head with Plaintiff attorney Roger Dreyer's questions about the definitions in company contest guidleines as to "dangerous" and "bad taste."

Asked whether it is the Entercom's legals department's responsibility to train employees to run contests, Dunleavy said Legal helps develop training materials but that it is a collective effort, to be approved by upper management. He said the Power Point presentation was part of the training, the contest guidelines were another part, and that much more goes into it, but is privileged "back and forth" between the stations.  When asked whether the Power Point and the contest guidelines had the policies concerning stations, Dunleavy
responded, "They encompassed the written statements of policy, I believe."

Dreyer asked about the meaning of specific terms on the documents, including "unresonably dangerous," and extremely dangerous," and whether there were any documents to assist employees as to what that means.  "Not that I'm aware of," Dunleavy replied.

Dunleavy talked a lot about the process in place, where anything except a "simple contest," one which he sadi would involve a call in giveaway or something similar, would have to go through legal for approval.  But he said Entercom does not have any documentation that employees submit contests in writing.  He said people would call sometimes about contests, email at others.  When asked whether employees are trained to submit contests via email, he sadi they were not, and that they could do so verbally.  He also said there is no requirement that Legal respond in writing so there is any written record of requests.

Dreyer asked whether Dunleavy had helped create the Entercom Code of Ethics and Conduct manual.  Dunleavy thought he had probably reviewed it years earlier as it was a requirement for public companies.

Back to the contest guidelines, Dunleavy said there were some attachments that did not appear to be included. Dreyer then took him page by page through the document.  He asked whether there was anything that specifically said that contests must go to legal.  He said no, but that it was part of the verbal training given to employees.  Dreyer went to subsection IV and noted that this was the first place in the document that talks about reiew by legal.  It states stations must go to legal if the prize is more than $1,000 and involves more than a simple call in to win.  Dreyer emphasized that the word "and" was underlined.  The Entercom attorney said the "and" was perjorative, and the intent was otherwise.

They then went into the tasks assumed by Entercom's attorneys, and Masi's testimony that she worked 60 - 70 hours per week, and was in charge of dozens of legal responsibilties for dozens of radio stations.  Dunleavy agreed that contests are a small part of what they oversee.

Dreyer asked whether as General Counsel, Dunleavy's staff was reponsible for training in contests.  He said yes, and he thought that they had a good process.  As to who was responsible for program content, Dunleavy said it was not the Market Manager, and that the program director was involved, but not day to day, but more as a supervisor.  If there were problems with programming, he said, a consultant would likely be called in.

Dreyer asked whether personnel was responsible for the safety of visitors coming onto the station's property, and Dunleavy replied it was common sense.  When pressed as to whether he was aware of Entercom Corporate policy that employees are responsible for the safety of the visitors, Dunleavy said he didn't know that there was a specific policy.

Dreyer asked whose job it was to ensure compliance with Entercom's Contest Policies and Procedures. He said Masi's testimony was that it was not her job.  Dunleavy answered that it was not the job of any one
person, but there were a lot of people in the process:  Promotions, Legal, Management, and others.

Asked whether a promotions director, in their opinion, had a contest which was not dangerous, would they be required to go to legal, Dunleavy said it depends.  Dreyer asked whether 100% of the time, he could testify
that staff had been trained to always call legal on the issue of a contest being dangerous, and Dunleavy went back to the process in place at Entercom.

Asked whether attorney Masi had ever come to him saying she was overwhelmed, and too busy to manage the contest policies and procedures, Dunleavy said no, but that he was fortunate to have a hardworking group
of attorneys willing to work long hours.

For actual audio of the "Hold Your Wee for a Nintendo Wii" contest, see the story at .

No comments: