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A white woman can't sue for racial discrimination, Deen's lawyer argues

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Paula Deen invokes same-sex marriage ruling in lawsuit defense

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 6:48 PM EDT, Tue July 2, 2013

Deen uses Prop 8 ruling in suit defense
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Law professor says the Prop 8 ruling is not relevant to the Deen case
  • A white woman can't sue for racial discrimination, Deen's lawyer argues
  • Deen's motion cites last week's Supreme Court ruling on California's Prop 8
  • The high court ruled private citizens had "no standing" to appeal same-sex ruling

(CNN) -- Celebrity chef Paula Deen hopes the Supreme Court's ruling allowing same-sex marriage to be legal in California will help in her defense against a racial discrimination lawsuit.

The woman alleging that she was subjected to a hostile work environment while working as an assistant manager at Deen's restaurants is white and therefore doesn't have the "standing," or legal right, to claim racial discrimination, according to a motion filed Monday by Deen's lawyer.

The high court rejected an appeal of California's Proposition 8 law last week on the grounds that the private parties behind the appeal did not have standing to defend the ballot measure barring gay and lesbian couples from state-sanctioned wedlock.

Even if the federal judge in Savannah, Georgia, accepts the argument and tosses the lawsuit, much damage has already been done to Deen's career and businesses by the public fallout from a deposition in which she acknowledged using the "N-word."

She said she had probably used the racial slur when talking to her husband about "when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head" -- an incident that took place 30 years ago.

Asked if she had used it since then, she said, "I'm sure I have, but it's been a very long time." She noted that circumstances have changed "since the '60s in the South."

Many of Deen's lucrative business relationships have crumbled in the wake of media coverage of the lawsuit. She has lost at least nine endorsements along with her Food Network cooking show, and publication of her eagerly anticipated cookbook has been canceled.

Deen attorney William Franklin's motion, filed Monday with the U.S. District Court in Savannah, cited the June 26 Supreme Court decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the California case.

"Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts made this observation: Article III of the Constitution confines the judicial power of federal courts to deciding actual 'Cases' or 'Controversies,'" the motion said. "One essential aspect of this requirement is that any person invoking the power of a federal court must demonstrate standing to do so. This requires the litigant to prove that he has suffered a concrete and particularized injury that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct, and is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision."

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told CNN Tuesday the contention that the Prop 8 ruling is relevant to the Deen case won't hold water.

The concept of standing is hardly new, and the Supreme Court bringing it into the spotlight in Hollingsworth v. Perry doesn't not advance Deen's motion to dismiss the case, Turley said.

Deen's accuser: 'This has never been about the N-word'

Lisa Jackson, the plaintiff in the suit against Deen is white, has no standing because she couldn't have suffered "a personal and tangible harm" from hearing the "N-word" on the job, the Franklin's , motion says.

In the Prop 8 case, state officials refused to pursue an appeal when a federal judge struck down the same-sex marriage ban. Private citizens picked it up, ultimately to be told by the high court last week that they had no standing to do so.

Jackson is a former manager at Deen's restaurants in Savannah, Georgia. She is suing Deen and her brother, Bubba Hier, alleging they committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism that resulted in the end of her five-year employment at Deen's Lady & Sons and Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House eateries in Savannah.

She gave a statement to CNN's Don Lemon through her lawyer, Matthew Billips, on Monday.

"This lawsuit has never been about the N-word," she 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."

Deen's lawyer has called the allegations false, and Deen has said she does not tolerate prejudice.

Deen made an emotional appearance on NBC's "Today Show" last week in which she called the accusations "horrible, horrible lies."

"I believe that every creature on this Earth, every one of God's creatures, was created equal," she said. "... I believe that everyone ought to be treated equal."

Deen was raised to never be unkind to anyone, she said.


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So what do you say?  Should a non minority be able sue for a hostile work environment due to the treatment of mintories in said work place even if the individual wasn't subjected directly to the discrimination and bias?  

by on Jul. 2, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Replies (41-50):
DestinyHLewis
by Destiny on Jul. 3, 2013 at 5:18 PM


So you choose to deflect, got it. 


Quoting Momniscient:

So that's a no. There are no lawsuits against spike lee for the same thing and you are just trying to vilify him to justify Paula Deens behavior.

Okie doke. Trying reading the lawsuit before making assumptions and she isn't losing everything by any means. Try again.


Quoting DestinyHLewis:


I actually had too lookup the GZ thing. That is not at all what I am speaking of. Paula is being smeared all over the media, and loosing everything. I wasn't referring to the exact contents of the lawsuit. My point is that Spike has been a known prejudicial person for a long time, yet he escapes backlash everytime. People accept or ignore it.  What he has done and continues to do was within the last 20 years, not before. Paula apologized, but yet she is seeing her worked for life crumble. Spike? Singing in the shower. I'm not ignoring what she is being sued for. I am speaking to what is happening to her as a whole. But you are plenty smart enough to know that. 


Quoting Momniscient:

Oh. Were there lawsuits I wasn't aware of? If there were and he got dropped on his endorsement deals, that is what he gets.

You obviously haven't read the lawsuit. Paula Deen is the one who made it about what she said.

It's funny that you are screaming about Spike Lee but he publicly and privately tried to make right when he did that horrible thing with tweeting the address of the wrong George Zimmerman. I'm sorry you are so focused on villifying Spike Lee that you are ignoring what a white woman is being sued for.

Quoting DestinyHLewis:


You said it isn't about what she said, but that is the focus of what I have read and seen. Not to mention... Spike Lee doesn't create hostility? Tell that to the white workers who were not hired on his sets because they are not minorities regardless if they were more qualified. I'd give you a source article if I could, but at the moment I cannot. If there is anything one could or would classify as reverse racism, although I think it  better falls under racial prejudice, he'd be the poster guy. But we never see people calling him on it.you have to really search to see what his practices are. It's just accepted from him. 


Quoting Momniscient:

It isn't about what she said.

It's about the working environment created by hostility toward people who are not white.

If Spike Lee created those environments and he was sued then that would have been a better analogy.

Quoting DestinyHLewis:

This whole thing is insane. Paula is being crucified. Can you imagine if all of us were sued for statements we have made at one time in our life, and it cost is our careers? Just nuts. I love how she is dragged through the mud, but Spike Lee can say whatever the hell he wants, hire whomever he wants, and people just deal. Agh 











katy_kay08
by on Jul. 3, 2013 at 5:19 PM
1 mom liked this

I was thinking the same thing, this would have been one lawsuit I would have settled if I had been in her place.   I would also be kicking my racist white trash brother Bubba to the curb.  

Quoting romalove:

I am trying to calculate how much money Paula Deen has lost, not just for herself, but for people who work for her, due to this disastrous lawsuit, and how much it would have cost for her to make it go away by settling.

I am betting settling would have been far cheaper.



shannonnigans
by Platinum Member on Jul. 3, 2013 at 5:42 PM
Sounds to me like everyone you mentioned exercised their free speech - Deen, Gaga, Lil Wayne and those who criticized. What's the problem?


Quoting juju40:

she's been criticized for using the N word like 20 years ago...yet Lady GAGA changes the words to the National Anthem and she's praised a hero....and LIL Wayne stomps on our flag and nobody says anything...something wrong here


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
smalltowngal
by Platinum Member on Jul. 3, 2013 at 6:24 PM
I know I was adversely affected by how Muslims in my area were treated after 9/11 even though I am a white Christian. My area was probably them worst in them country for violence against Muslims.
stormcris
by Christy on Jul. 3, 2013 at 6:54 PM

First of all she is suing every single venture out there when she only worked for one. Secondly people seem to think she is only suing for hostile work enviornment which she isn't, she is charging racial discrimination as part of the charging and no I do not think she can sue for it with justification of being adjunct. Discrimination has to be direct. She is also charging sexual harrassement and pay discrimination. 

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Jul. 3, 2013 at 6:56 PM


Quoting adeber1:

Well yeah...he's the anti-Christ don't ya know ;)

In fact, a really big limb fell on my front lawn yesterday and I know Obama was behind it.

Also, that run in my stockings..yep, Obama! It's all Obama!


Quoting JanetMonroe1991:

So let me guess this is Obama's fault along with everything else?  It rains when you planed to go to the park and that is also Obama's fault. 

Great job bringing Obama into a topic that has nothing to do with him. 



Quoting grandmab125:

 The court should throw the suit against Deen out.  The harpy went after Deen because she's got deeper pockets than her brother.  It's the brother she worked for directly, not Deen.


Hell, isnt Obama always saying "I know nothing, I saw nothing, I heard nothing".  He's never responsible for what those under him do, so why should Deen be responsible?


This would equate to woman #1 suing her boss's boss because her boss sexually harassed woman #2.  It's woman #2's place to sue, not woman #1.





I was stung by a wasp this morning.  Damn that Obama!  I know that, some how, he had some thing to do with it.......one way or another.

meriana
by Platinum Member on Jul. 3, 2013 at 8:25 PM

 


Quoting free1:

 

Quoting meriana:

 

 

Quoting samurai_chica:

where are the people who were actually discriminated against?

That's my question also and why aren't they part of the lawsuit? I also wonder, if she should win, how much of what she receives is she going to share with them? 

 

   "Ms. Jackson, who is white, said that her father was Sicilian, with dark skin, and that she had suffered prejudice as a result."    

 Interesting.   Is she (Ms Jackson) going to include others in the lawsuit, as well??


Of course not. I was being a bit sarcastic since the lawsuit claims she cared deeply about her staff and the treatment they received. However she didn't care enough to file a suit while working there or immediatly after quitting her job, nor did she care enough to include them in the lawsuit. Instead she waited 3 years to file the suit and the staff she cared so much about is not a part of it at all.

 

RandRMomma
by Maya on Jul. 3, 2013 at 8:35 PM
I agree with your point. But, why bring Obama into it. You don't do a swell job at convincing people that you aren't his biggest fan. LOL

Quoting grandmab125: The court should throw the suit against Deen out.  The harpy went after Deen because she's got deeper pockets than her brother.  It's the brother she worked for directly, not Deen.
Hell, isnt Obama always saying "I know nothing, I saw nothing, I heard nothing".  He's never responsible for what those under him do, so why should Deen be responsible?
This would equate to woman #1 suing her boss's boss because her boss sexually harassed woman #2.  It's woman #2's place to sue, not woman #1.
RandRMomma
by Maya on Jul. 3, 2013 at 8:38 PM
I thought she meant her ex when referring to that statement. I'm not sure.

Quoting katy_kay08:

the allegations are that she used it more frequently.  Deen's excuse is that she has used it when she spoke of an incident that happened over 20 years ago, not that it's been 20 years since she said it.  She stated in her deposition she used the word when discussing the incident with her husband.  They married in 2004.  

Quoting juju40:

she's been criticized for using the N word like 20 years ago...yet Lady GAGA changes the words to the National Anthem and she's praised a hero....and LIL Wayne stomps on our flag and nobody says anything...something wrong here


RandRMomma
by Maya on Jul. 3, 2013 at 8:41 PM
This is my question as well. You'd think that the people that are actually on the receiving end of this alleged abuse would be involved in the lawsuit.

Quoting samurai_chica:

where are the people who were actually discriminated against?

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