Paula Deen Lawsuit: Supreme Court Prop 8 Ruling Can Dismiss Racism Case?
The Paula Deen lawsuit took an interesting turn when her defense cited the recent Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage.
Paula Deen’s lawyers claim the DOMA and Prop 8 rulings are enough justification for throwing out the lawsuit completely.
The Supreme Court’s Proposition 8 ruling was decided solely on technical legal grounds since state officials in California’s executive branch declined to defend the law even though it was passed by a majority vote. According to the Supreme Court, this meant the case was invalid because the private citizens defending Proposition 8 were not entitled to defend the law even though it was passed by California’s own citizens. Since the Supreme Court was technically not allowed to see the case, this meant that a prior trial court decision in favor of gay marriage was left standing.
Lisa Jackson, the woman responsible for the Paula Deen lawsuit, is white and thus Paula Deen’s lawyers claim the Supreme Court’s ruling means she doesn’t have any legal right to claim racial discrimination. The logic goes that, since Lisa Jackson was not African American, she couldn’t have suffered “a personal and tangible harm” from hearing the “N-word” on the job.
But, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, Lisa Jackson claims the Paula Deen lawsuit isn’t about racism:
“This lawsuit has never been about the N-word,” Lisa Jackson said. “It is to address Ms. Deen’s patterns of disrespect and degradation of people that she deems to be inferior. I may be a white woman, but I could no longer tolerate her abuse of power as a business owner, nor her condonation of Mr. Hier’s despicable behavior on a day-to-day basis. I am what I am, and I am a human being that cares about all races, and that is why I feel it is important to be the voice for those who are too afraid to use theirs.”
But, while citing discrimination and harassment, Lisa Jackson previously claimed she was an “African-American adjacent” as part of the Paula Deen lawsuit. Paula Deen, for her part, admits using the N-word in the past but otherwise claims Lisa Jackson made up her work-based racism allegations as part of a harassment case.
Do you think the Paula Deen lawsuit should be thrown out by the judge?
This Lisa Jackson seems like a real piece of shit, too.
I agree, R1. Jackson's race may or may not affect her standing under applicable law, but the grounds on which standing was denied in the Prop 8 case do not apply on their face to Jackson's suit.
Why not, r3?
Regardless of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Prop 8 case, standing is a potential issue for a white woman claiming injury due to a hostile environment in the workplace based on racial discrimination. (I read the complaint, and I know it also alleges discrimination and harassment of the female plaintiff based on her gender.)
IIRC, the case was based solely on Georgia law (no federal claims), and I know nothing about the wording of that statute or the precedent in that state.
I have no idea why Deen's lawyer did not raise the standing issue in a motion to dismiss the relevant causes of action as her first pleading in the case. That is what I would have done, if I had been representing her. That could have precluded Deen being questioned about racial discrimination in her companies at her deposition. (I have not read the transcript, but I am surprised if it is not filled with objections.)
As a secondary issue, Jackson's attorney seems to be arguing that evidence of the racial discrimination shows a pattern or practice of Deen's improper treatment of all subordinates. I view that as a bit of a stretch, and the prejudice introduction of that evidence at trial would create seems to outweigh its probative value.
Unfortunately for Deen, the court of public opinion is not confined to following the rules applicable to legal proceedings.
The biggest question is why she didn't settle this lawsuit immediately with a NDA ?
R4, the short answer is stated by the first 2 sentences of the final paragraph of the Supreme Court's decision:
[quote]We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to. We decline to do so for the first time here.
The explanation of how they reached that conclusion is contained in the full opinion (at the link).
R5, Jackson's complaint was amended by the plaintiff to include federal claims for relief & then removed by Deen to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.
So "adjacent" is a thing? I thought that was a DL creation.
Deen et al removed the federal relief portion of the complaint and is now using a federal statue / precedent to request a dismissal ?
Thanks, R7. I'll have to hunt up the Amended Complaint.
R9, I understood R7 to mean that Jackson (the plaintiff) amended her complaint to include federal claims under Title VII. That gave Deen's counsel the right to seek to "remove" the case from the local state court, and have the case tried in federal court. I doubt it creates any advantage for her in terms of the substantive law of the case, but it will make it more expensive for Jackson, and give her a different jury pool.
R10, here's the amended complaint -- fed allegations commence at pg 33.
These cases typically settle at an almost standard amount of around 50,000. I don't see why Dean's Lawyers just didn't make that offer with the standard non disparage agreement.
This has cost Paula Dean millions of dollars. Even if she never said those things, its sort of the cost of doing business when you are a big public brand.
I am guessing she went with her bothers opinion that is was all just a disgruntled employee and not to really worry about it.
Thanks, R11. I don't often work on employment law cases, but my first one, many years ago, led me to DL. That was back in the days when the sire had multiple forums.
It was a gender/sexual orientation case brought by a gay man against his lesbian supervisor. I experienced working as woman in what was deemed a 'man's world." I wanted to learn more about what this man was going through The responses I received helped me,and ultimately him.
I rarely post, but I was here for Red Dragon Cheese, Let's Go Cinnamon Rolls, and even White Belt Man.
I think Jackson screwed herself when she leaked the deposition.
If the case goes to trial Lisa Jackson is the white woman who lied about having a biracial niece in order to buttress a claim of harassment and subsequently destroyed Deen's career.
I find it difficult to imagine what jury will find Jackson sympathetic.
I also think Deen has nothing to lose now - and might as well pull out all the stops to defend herself.
Add to that the fact no other employees have come forward with similar complaints.
Thank you R10, I wonder if more lawsuits will follow now that Paula has been outed.... What is the consensus whether or not if a federal jury pool will work to Jackson's advantage... Anyone know if Jo-Ellen Demetruis of the OJ trial still in demand as a jury consultant ?
I guess since Paula has hired the real life Olivia Pope shell have those bases covered. Paula is a freaking idiot for not settling this case. She should've know she was done after the diabetes scandal . This will be the final nail in her coffin.
If the case is dismissed with prejudice ( I don't think it will be) Jackson should get more people and file a class action Paula is fuct.
So I guess Abe Lincoln had no standing to fight The Civil War then?
Because working in an environment where your co-workers are discriminated against has no effect whatsoever on those bearing witness to it and working in the same environment and having to submit to it as well.
The U.S. - where as long as it's happening to the other guy, it's all right with me. What a great nation.
You make a great point, R17, but the Lincoln analogy is misplaced. In lawsuits, standing, or the ability to claim an injury to yourself, carries a very distinct meaning.
If my boss treated my black co-workers in the way that Jackson alleged in her complaint, I'd find that a hostile environment. It would not be all right with me, but that does not mean that I can claim a personal injury and demand monetary compensation because of it.
How Paula Deen should've reacted. She should've told the truth about blacks and stood her ground: