November 4, 2010
Bakke next produced another tape recorded conversation, this one with HR director Billie Peltz. This conversation was of very poor audio quality and difficult to understand. It sounded like the conversation was about Long's issues with Halvorson. At one point Peltz is heard saying Long should lie. But Long replies, he can't do that. Long said "I can't let him do this to me. I won't sleep if I don't do something. I'm miserable. He's F-d with me. He's trying to blow my career. I'm not going to let that fat F--- do that to me." Peltz is heard saying, think about it, don't do this. Long told Bakke he had to talk with Human Resources.
Bakke: She's suggesting an aggressive stance?
Long: It's hard to hear. I think she said there was a need to lay this on the feet of Bjornson.
Bakke: She said, lie, it's your job.
Long: I didn't hear that, but I wouldn't do that.
Bakke: He's F-d me over, I'm not going to let that fat F--- do that do me, that was an insubordinate comment wasn't it?
Bakke: These are complaints that you gave to human resources.
Bakke: She would be duty bound then to go to the CEO, wouldn't she?
Long: Oh, no. Not when there's violations of law.
Bakke: You didn't use the words violation of law, did you?
Long: No, but it's implicit. If the person in the next layer of command is biased, you go to the next level.
Bakke: You were upset Halvorson got the CEO job and you didn't, right?
Long: I was upset he got the job.
Bakke: Peltz advised you maybe somebody needs to start adding external pressure.
Bakke: She said he's starting to crack.
Bakke: Would filing a Whistleblower Act complaint outside the organization be applying external pressure?
Bakke: Did you hear Peltz say, don't be mad at me?
Long: I couldn't hear.
Bakke: Didn't you say, I wouldn't sugar or sweetie.
Long: No, I never called her sugar or sweetie.
Bakke: Wouldn't that indicate an inappropriate relationship?
Long: No, because it never happened. You keep fishing for it, but no.
Bakke: You knew you were recording.
Long: I'm not sure. I carry around a tape recorder in my pocket.
Bakke: It's your testimony, when you were recording you were reporting violations of law.
Long: Yes, I was.
Bakke: Her responsibility is to take the report seriously.
Bakke: She should then launch an investigation, true?
Long: Her responsibility is to notify Risk Management.
Bakke: Her job is to make sure there was an investigation.
Long: If she thinks it needs to be investigated.
Bakke: There was no investigation by Peltz, was there?
Long: I don't know if there was or not, but it's clear she was afraid.
Bakke: You'd know, wouldn't you, you'd be interviewed.
Bakke: Neither you nor Miss Peltz initiated an investigation. Doesn't it tell you that since Miss Peltz did not investigate, these claims were not violations of law?
Long: Billie Peltz was scared to death.
Bakke: Do you recall that Jodi Bjornson was trying to make peace.
Bakke: That she was trying to get the executive team to work together.
Long: I can't say, but generally yes.
Bakke then turned the questioning to Long's communications with northdecoder.com.
Bakke: Chad Nodland is a proponent of injured workers and has also criticized policies of WSI, true?
Long: That's fair.
Bakke: You were communicating with him while you worked at WSI?
Long: Chad and I are friends, sure.
Bakke: He's not your attorney?
Bakke: You didn't communicate with him because he blogged about WSI?
Long: No, Chad's a friend.
Bakke: Did you communicate with him before the dates you went to the board?
Long: I don't remember the dates, Chad's a friend.
Bakke then put a copy of Long's deposition on the screen for the court to see. In the deposition Long said that Nodland's name had gone back and forth at WSI because Halvorson had been roommates with Nodland and he was critical of practices at WSI. Bakke wondered whether it refreshed his memory that Long had gone to Nodland before he went to the board members.
Bakke: You contacted him about WSI issues?
Long: That's fair, but other issues as well.
Bakke: You knew about the northdecoder website. You were aware conversations would be published on his website, correct?
Long: No, Chad's very professional.
Bakke: You're saying that Nodland did not publish things attributable to you and you set up an anonymous email account to provide information?
Long: I needed to talk with him or some attorney about this, I needed to get advice.
Bakke returned to Long's deposition showing that he had talked with Nodland in summer of 2007 before whistleblowing.
Bakke: You set up a fictitious name?
Long: Yes, that sounds apt.
Bakke: Didn't we require during discovery emails to and from that account? You never produced those.
Long: I've not been able to get them.
Bakke: You said it's because you couldn't remember your password.
Long: Yes, I told you to subpoena gmail.
Bakke: Is it fair to say Nodland is a representative of the media?
Bakke: For you to have communications with the media while at WSI and airing complaints, that would be violation of WSI handbook, wouldn't it?
Bakke then produced the WSI handbook. The WSI handbook referred to official statements and said no employee is authorized to make comments to the media unless approved.
Bakke: You were making comments about claim handling.
Long: I was talking to my friend Chad.
Bakke: Who happened to be a member of the media?
Tuntland then made an objection that they could not limit Long's first amendment rights. The judge ruled the jury could decide that.
Bakke: You didn't get permission.
Long: I wasn't making official statements, so why would I?
Bakke: You were aware he was a blogger?
Long: I was aware.
Bakke: The only reason you set up an email account was to provide information to the media.
Long: I talked with Chad not because of the media but because of his understanding of the law.
Bakke: You talked with Nodland before you filed your whistleblower complaint?
Long: I needed to get legal advice.
Bakke: But you said he wasn't your attorney.
Long: But he knew alot about the law.