UPDATE TUESDAY 1:35 PM: The woman whose lawsuit shattered Paula Deen’s media mini-empire today tells CNN that her case was never about the chef’s use of racial slurs. “This lawsuit has never been about the N-word, it is to address Ms. Deen’s patterns of disrespect and degradation of people that she deems to be inferior,” said Lisa Jackson in a statement provided to the cable news network Tuesday by her attorney Matthew Billips. Deen’s use of the slur was revealed in a deposition she gave in the case. The fallout has seen her Food Network show cancelled and various endorsements and other business deals terminated. On Monday, Deen and her brother’s lawyer filed more paperwork to their motion have the racial discrimination part of the case dismissed because Jackson is white. “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.”
PREVIOUSLY MONDAY PM: It won’t bring back her canned Food Network show, lost endorsements, book deals and merchandising sales, or her reputation in many circles. But Paula Deen today pushed to have dismissed part of a racial discrimination lawsuit — the one in which she confessed to using the N-word in a deposition. The fallout once the deposition became public has quickly led to the collapse of Deen’s cooking empire. The TV chef, who admitted to using the racial slur in the past, is employing the Supreme Court’s recent Prop 8 ruling in her efforts: Today, the defendants filed paperwork (read it here) in U.S. District Court in Georgia citing SCOTUS’ ruling June 26 that essentially struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s anti-same-sex marriage Prop. 8. Deen’s former restaurant employee Lisa Jackson brought the original suit against the chef; although white, Jackson has bi-racial nieces. Deen’s supplementary material to the earlier motion for sanction noted Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion for the majority in the Prop 8 ruling: “One essential aspect…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…In other words, for a federal court to have authority under the Constitution to settle a dispute, the party before it must seek a remedy for a personal and tangible harm.” Last week the Supreme Court ruled that Prop. 8’s legal proponents lacked legal standing based on the argument Roberts detailed in his opinion.
On Tuesday, lawyers for Deen, her brother Earl Hiers and their co-owned Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House sought sanctions (read it here) against Jackson claiming she had no right to claim racial discrimination. “Jackson cannot enforce someone else’s right, and she has no actionable claim for feeling ‘uncomfortable’ around discriminatory conduct directed at others,” the June 25 motion said. “These defendants respectfully request the Court to consider Hollingsworth in its resolution of their motion to dismiss,” Monday’s four-page filing added. Deen, her brother and their establishments are represented by William P. Franklin Jr., of Oliver Maner LLP and Thomas A. Withers of Gillen Withers & Lake LLC in this latest filing.
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