This is the 4th and final part of an interview conducted in December by Baltimore student Robert Limgallon. As I wrote earlier in the week, Robert initially contacted right after last year’s Super Bowl and wanted to do this for a school project but just as we were getting ready to get together, the Jen Royle lawsuit came down and I put off the interview. He came back to me right after Royle dropped the lawsuit last August and wanted to get together then and I decided at that point I didn’t want to comment on the case until it had the chance to die down a little. He contacted me again in early December and I agreed to the interview at that point.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it.
RL — I’m not sure how to start this. I assume saying “So how did it feel to be the subject of a lawsuit?” only comes with the reply of “not all that good”.
DF — Yeah, that’s a fair statement.
RL — It was quite an interesting year for you and Glenn and Nestor on that front, right?
DF — “Interesting” is very appropriate. I used the word “typical” when the Daily Record guy asked me for a comment. That, in fact, is the only real public comment I made about it.
RL — Just that it was typical? In what sense?
DF — At the risk of getting off-track into a political discussion, which I don’t want to do, I just thought the lawsuit was a typical reaction to what we see in this country today. Millions and millions of people in the United States take their hardship or their situation and say to themselves, “Is there someone I can sue over this?”. It’s a very typical response from people these days. “I don’t like what happened to me, so I’m going to sue.” It’s the easy way out. After all, you might actually win. All that’s required is an attorney and your willingness to put some money behind it if it comes to that. And let me stop right here and say this and make sure we’re absolutely clear on one thing. There were three stages to the lawsuit Jen Royle filed. First, she filed a lawsuit and asked for $800,000. Second, there was an exchange of information between the two sides where she said “this is what WNST did to me” and we said, “Actually, we didn’t do that. And on the flip side, here’s some information we’ve gathered and processed that we believe will clearly prove that the accusations you’re making aren’t valid.” Third, Jen Royle dropped the case, without a settlement, without anything of substance from WNST. She just dropped the case, five months later. That’s the 10-second summary.
RL — Does that mean, in your mind, she didn’t have a case against you and the station?
DF — Like I said before, you can sue anyone in the country for just about anything. But suing someone and having the evidence in place to actually prove to a judge or a jury that you were, in fact, wronged by the defendants is as contrasting as night and day. There’s no need for me to judge whether or not Jen Royle had a case against us. Jen Royle wound up making that judgment on her own — she decided she didn’t have a case against us anymore when she dropped the lawsuit.
RL — Fair enough. But the evidence in place, was there ever a concern about that from you or the radio station?
DF — I can only speak for myself. And let’s be clear on something. No real “evidence” per-se, was ever really put before a judge and jury. That’s my opinion, anyway. What was presented and what was entered into the records were merely “claims” that she made. None of it had ever been substantiated as actual evidence. I could create a lawsuit today naming you and your family and saying “here are the things Robert did to me”. Is that evidence? Just by me saying it, is that evidence? Or do I have to somehow prove that in court?
RL — I understand, you’d have to prove it to a judge or a jury.
DF — That’s right. It might be semantics, but to me that’s important. And it’s what frustrated me more than anything about the whole lawsuit. Jen Royle listed 50 things that she effectively called “evidence” and the people who read that stuff immediately said, “Wow, did you see what those guys at WNST did to Jen Royle?”. When, in reality, and this was eventually substantiated when she dropped the lawsuit, all those allegations turned out – on paper, anyway – to be just claims. None of it was ever ruled to be illegal or damaging by a judge or a jury.
RL — I assume you were relieved when she dropped the lawsuit?
DF — I was relieved for WNST, mostly, because we had lost a sponsor over the whole ordeal, and yes, I was relieved to not have to deal with it all anymore, but there were a lot of loose ends that never really got tied up that were very frustrating to me, personally.
RL — What kind of loose ends?
DF — In the end, the way it all ended on a Friday afternoon in August when she just up and dropped the whole thing…suddenly, it was supposed to just go away like nothing happened. That, to me, was the most outrageous part of the whole thing. When the lawsuit was filed, Jen Royle got to share her side of the story and got to present her case in a public forum. When she dropped the case, she disappeared, and so did the media who initially covered the story. It was a huge story last April: “Female sportscaster sues rival local radio station”. It was the lede story on TV, it was on the front page of the Sun’s web-site, it was a big, big story. Five months later when the case was dropped, it was a note under “In other news around town”. It was like: “Oh, by the way, Jen Royle dropped her lawsuit against WNST”. She was never forced to explain herself to anyone in the media, which I thought was completely unacceptable. And that no one in the media pressed her on it was a joke. No one anywhere said, “Wait a second, this is sort of strange. This person filed an $800,000 lawsuit in March. Five months later, the same person just up and decided that she wasn’t going to continue with the lawsuit. At the moment of truth, when the witching hour had arrived and it was time to get down to the business of actually getting ready to go to court, she dropped the lawsuit and her pursuit of $800,000.” And no one in town made her explain herself. That was laughable.
RL — Explain herself in what way?
DF — Explain why, after five months of exchanging paperwork and trying to make that publicity stunt look real, why she just decided one day to drop the case. There needed to be some sort of public explanation from her, and an acceptable one, not that stuff she lobbed out there…”I just decided I didn’t want to pursue it anymore.” There needed to be something from her that I could show to the people who had doubted me, whether that was friends, family or sponsors. And, I must say, thankfully, most of the folks that I know that I confided in knew the truth from the beginning. But there were lots of people who did the “judge and jury” thing to me and to Glenn and Nestor all the way back in April because they believed her. And when she dropped the case, it would have been nice to have something from her that had some meat to it that said, essentially, “I’m no longer going to pursue this lawsuit and here are the reasons why I feel I no longer have a case against that station and the defendants.”
RL — So you think it was a publicity stunt?
DF — What else could it have been? The only thing she actually got out of it was, in fact, publicity. She never got a nickel of money from WNST or the insurance company. In fact, if she had to put 50 cents in the meter over in Towson to park her car while she went in to sign the paperwork, that meant the lawsuit actually cost her money. Of course, the station wound up paying, but we paid our lawyers, not Jen Royle.
RL — But what makes you think it was a publicity stunt? What was in it for Jen Royle?
DF — It got her name and picture in the paper as a fighter. The Sun or the Business Journal didn’t print a story about the sportscaster and her view on sports. The story was “here’s Jen Royle, taking on WNST, the renegade radio station in town who calls it like it is.” I called her out for being from Boston and – in my opinion – not liking Baltimore and not knowing nearly as much as I know about Baltimore sports. If you google her name, the first page of stories about her are all about what? The lawsuit. 30 years from now when she retires from whatever place she’s working, when someone writes the career story of Jen Royle, I’m fairly certain that somewhere in there it will reference the fact that in 2011, she filed an $800,000 lawsuit against WNST and three of its employees. It’s her branding mark from the time she’s spent in Baltimore. She’s not the sportscaster who talks baseball and football, she’s the female sportscaster who sued WNST. (Please see next page)