Attorneys for beleaguered TV chef Paula Deen made an unusual legal argument in the discrimination lawsuit that triggered the sudden dismantling of much of her business empire, E! Online reports.
"Lawyers for the embattled celebrity chef are citing the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision striking down California’s Prop 8, which originally banned gay marriage in that state, as a reason a court should dismiss Lisa’s Jackson’s federal lawsuit against her and her brother Earl ‘Bubba’ Hiers," the story reports.
"Jackson, a former restaurant worker at the duo’s Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah, filed a racial harassment complaint last year alleging Deen and Hiers subjected her to racial harassment and a hostile work environment by, among other things, making racist remarks about the restaurant’s African-American employees."
Deen got into trouble after admitting in a deposition for the case that she had used the N-word in the past. In the two weeks since that revelation, numerous business partners — including Food Network, Deen’s longtime TV home — have severed their ties with Deen.
"Deen’s legal eagles have subsequently been hitting back hard against Jackson, charging in a brief that one of the plaintiff’s core claims — that she was personally offended by Paula’s utterance of the racial slur since she had biracial nieces — was a lie. They cited evidence that Jackson’s nieces are actually those of her partner’s and that the girls are Hispanic, not African-American," the piece reports.
Deen’s team filed a supplemental brief Monday in U.S. District Court in Georgia citing the Supreme Court ruling, the report notes.
The piece adds: "Deen’s attorneys noted the opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts on the Hollingsworth vs. Perry Prop 8 case, where he wrote that in order for a person to have standing to sue, they must prove they have ‘suffered a concrete and particularized injury that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct.’"
The Deen camp reportedly argued: "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."
TV Guide notes: "In Deen’s view, given the fact that Jackson is white, she doesn’t have standing to bring the case because she herself didn’t suffer personally from race discrimination."