Paula Deen’s racial & sexual discrimination lawsuit is over, the case was ‘dropped’

Y’all didn’t believe me when I said “IF THE HAM DOES NOT FIT, YOU MUST ACQUIT.” But it’s the truth! Just a few weeks ago, the “racial discrimination” part of the lawsuit was dropped by a judge in Georgia, and now the sexual discrimination part of the lawsuit has been dropped, but only for Paula, not her brother Bubba. The main gist is that the manager, Lisa Jackson, at one of Bubba and Paula’s restaurants filed a lawsuit against Paula and Bubba claiming that they created a hostile working environment filled with n-bombs and p0rn and much, much more. That lawsuit was the catalyst for everything that we now know about Paula. And now Paula isn’t even the one being sued anymore.

Paula Deen’s legal nightmare is over. Lawyers in Savannah, Ga., signed a deal on Friday, Aug. 23, to drop the lawsuit against the disgraced former Food Network chef, 66, who was accused by ex-employee Lisa Jackson last year of racial discrimination.

According to the Associated Press, both parties agreed to drop the case “without any award of costs or fees to any party.” No other details were released.

The agreement is the second piece of good news to come Deen’s way this month. Two weeks ago, on Monday, Aug. 12, U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore threw out Jackson’s claims that the Southern star and her brother Bubba Hiers had subjected her to racist attitudes during the five years she was employed at Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House.

“While this has been a difficult time for both my family and myself, I am pleased that the judge dismissed the race claims and I am looking forward to getting this behind me, now that the remaining claims have been resolved,” Deen told Us Weekly via a statement from her spokesperson after the agreement was reached. “During this time my faith has strengthened me and the tremendous outpouring of support as well as prayers from folks of all walks of life has been both humbling and overwhelming.”

“I am confident that those who truly know how I live my life know that I believe in kindness and fairness for everyone,” she added. “Moving forward, my team and I working to review the workplace environment issues that were raised in this matter and to retool all of my business operations. I look forward to getting back to doing what I love.”

Jackson, for her part, said in a statement to Us that she was confident Deen would keep her word and address the concerns that had been brought up by her lawsuit. She described Deen as a “woman of compassion” and said she wished the entire family “all the best.”

“During a very difficult period in my life, the Deen family gave me hope and the opportunity to work to build a brighter future for my family and me,” she said. “I assumed that all of my complaints about the workplace environment were getting to Paula Deen, but I learned during this matter that this was not the case.”

“The Paula Deen I have known for more than eight years is a woman of compassion and kindness and will never tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind toward anyone,” she continued. “I now know that the workplace environment issues that I raised are being reviewed and will in the future no longer be at issue.”

“I wish Ms. Deen and her family all the best in all of their future endeavors,” she concluded, “and I am very pleased that this matter has been resolved and can now be put behind us.”

That may be easier said than done. As a result of the charges brought against Deen — and her admission in a deposition that she had used the N-word — the butter-loving chef was fired from her position at the Food Network. She was also dropped by several business partners, including JCPenney, Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Smithfield Foods.

[From Us Weekly]

Huh. Does anyone else think that some money was exchanged under the table? But it’s not even like it’s an official out-of-court settlement filed with the court though. It’s like “Oh, I’ll tank my lawsuit against you if you pay me $300,000” and Paula was like “Would you like $300,000 worth of butter or should I just write a check?” That’s really what happened. Truth.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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39 Responses to “Paula Deen’s racial & sexual discrimination lawsuit is over, the case was ‘dropped’”

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  1. lisa2 says:

    Yes I think they settled out of court. Non disclosure agreements and such.

    I think Paula overestimated her appeal and the public. If she and her team had done this at the beginning she would still be on the top of her game. Maybe bruised a bit but still the Southern Queen of Butter.

    It will be interesting to see how she rebuilds after this. I think she should just take a LONG vacation for a few months then try a comeback. No interviews, no talk shows. Just go MIA for a time and then try and connect with some other products.

    The public is strange and forgets a lot. (Well it depends on the celebrity) People are not interested in all aspects of Paula personal life, so she can rise again.

    • Katherine says:

      Of course they settled out of court. Re- read the news about it.

      Once you settle then both parties ask the court to dismiss the case. That’s how it works. As no costs or fees were awarded that just means both parties are paying for their own attorneys and the costs associated with bringing and defending the lawsuit. It DOES NOT mean a settlement was not paid to the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s attorney will take his costs and fees out of the settlement.

      The dismissal of the racial discrimination counts was a highly appealable issue. Remember that was just one judge’s opinion. It is my opinion (and that of others in the field) that you do not have to be the direct victim of a certain form of discrimination (in this case racial) to be injured by the hostile environment created by that racial discrimination.

      The plaintiff’s claims regarding sexual harassment and discrimination were strong.

      And to the person commenting below that an out of court settlement is “bribery” – please learn something about American law before commenting on the issue. It seems Dean was advised by her legal team to settle up front and she ignored them. The same way she ignored the when they warned her that the practices of her company/restaurants were illegal and discriminatory. Dean was advised well. She just refused to listen or do anything about it. That says a lot about her.

    • Tara says:

      I bet Paula threw her brother under the bus. Her lawyers offered Jackson’s lawyers a clear shot at Bubba in exchange for that BS public statement and refraining from slamming Paula in public.

  2. Tiffany says:

    And to think, all of this would have gone away if she would have settled. Arrogance was truly her downfall.

    • Gina Sherrard says:

      So settle and not stand up for herself and let people believe the worse was the best thing she could do? Are you kidding?

      • lena80 says:

        Believe? The judge dismissed the Jackson’s racial part of the suit solely because she was White…she said she couldn’t be offended. Now the other stuff is being settled, with non disclosure agreements etc in place. Seems to be a case of where there’s smoke there’s fire.

  3. The Original G says:

    Hard to believe that a woman who ran many businesses, negotiated a TV show and book deal, did not have the circumspection to control her mouth, her partners or settle of of court ages ago. Hubris.

    If she milks the sympathy and keeps playing the ignorant southern git, that will be truly disappointing.

    • Jane says:

      It’s unfortunate, but after all the years I have seen this woman on television, she doesn’t know how to control her mouth. I am surprised that she has come this far without any complications. I knew there would be trouble the first time I saw her on Emeril Live. The sexual innuendos and crazy behavior led me to believe she was on something. Such a far cry from the “sweet ol’ me” image she had when she burst onto the scene. In all honesty, I do not wish to see her back on television. She should just go back to running her restaurant and doing her cruises and leave the rest of the world alone. She had her 15 minutes of fame. She doesn’t need any more.

      • JudyK says:

        THANK YOU Original G and Jane for getting to the crux of the matter…I can’t believe the ignorance of the law and misinformation associated with this case.

        Paula Deen is as CRUDE and obnoxious as they come. She’s proven it a thousand times over, and I’m tired of pointing out the specifics.

        Bottom line, a “lady” she “ain’t.”

    • Cazzee says:

      “…playing the ignorant southern git”

      Uh, wow.

      You really feel comfortable saying that?

      If so, and that statement wasn’t a meta-joke, you might want to check your irony meter. It seems to be broken.

      • The Original G says:

        For real? SHE’s the one that has played that role and used it publicly to excuse her behavior.

        No one buys the caricature she’s been playing and using to pander for sympathy. She’s pandering to her audience. Check yourself.

  4. QQ says:

    The suit has dropped!. So have your ham and your butter, Creepy old lady doll

  5. Kate says:

    Before I’m attacked, let me say I’m not a Paula Deen fan. I don’t care about her one way or the other. Buttery fatty sugary fried southern schtick is not my thing (and I live in the south). That said, it may not be as simple as “Paula was arrogant and refused to settle and she got what she deserved.” Sure, if Paula had settled the case prior to her being deposed, she could’ve done so for a lot cheaper and of course no one would’ve been any the wiser about her prior conduct/words. However, there was never a legit claim against Paula, individually, to begin with, and I’m sorry, but many MANY of these kinds of suits are shakedowns. Having Paula in the suit was for the sole purpose of shaking her down. If Paula or anyone else settles these things quickly, all they do is open themselves up to more shakedowns — potential plaintiffs see easy money. So there is some reasoning behind not settling early. That said, I am genuinely interested to understand how Paula being deposed all came about and why, if she had to be deposed, was there no protective order in place protecting the contents of the deposition from becoming public. Protective orders in cases of this nature are standard operating procedure, and it is unfathomable to me that Paula’s attorney did not seek a protective order in this case. Perhaps he/she did and it wasn’t granted (unlikely) or perhaps one was in place and the plaintiff simply violated by leaking the depo transcript, which would leave them open to, among other things, sanctions from the court.

    Anyway, the bottom line is there is a lot more to this story that won’t ever be reported which, if known, would help explain it.

    • The Original G says:

      Yeah, but her actions and words made her vulnerable to a shakedown. She could survive a shakedown, but the public can choose to take their butter elsewhere based on distaste for her, herself.

    • Gabriella says:

      Yep. Exactly this. Well said!

    • Bridget says:

      There was definitely some valid stuff in the suit, people just got stuck on thr whole ”said the N word one time”. Refusing to promote women to managerial positions because they’re women? Allowing a workspace where the boss hits on everyone and looks at porn? Paying for a special event in beer? These are all totally valid concerns and are lawsuit worthy.

      • Kate says:

        Perhaps valid claims against the restaurant and the manager — Bubba — yes. But Paula individually? As far as I’ve read, Paula didn’t run the restaurant, Bubba did. sure Paula may be an owner of the restaurant, but the restaurant I am virtually certain is a separate legal entity. No legal reason to go after Paula individually if she wasn’t running the restaurant and she was nothing more than a shareholder in a company. Shareholders can’t be liable for what the company or its employees do unless you show the company was a sham.

      • Tara says:

        You seem well versed on legal terms so I’m sure you know the difference between innocent and not guilty.
        Let’s be completely real for a moment. Paula was the scion of the Deem brand, period. Despite her legal status as owner/shareholder whatever the wealth, loyalty and celebrity status enjoyed by Paula, her sons and her brother are all a direct result of America’s love of and support for Paula. That acceptance was based on her shucks y’all Southern grandma appeal. It was all buttery bs on so many levels.
        So maybe you’re right about the letter of the law and so no one can complain about the suit being dropped. But, thankfully, endorsements don’t need a legal reason to drop your ass. Deen losing millions, repulsing former fans, being forced to respect women and minorities in the workforce and other similar outcomes sounds like justice to me. Y’all.

      • Troubadour says:

        @ Tara. Kate’s right about both the letter and the spirit of the law, thankfully. It isn’t a punishment machine that spits out answers commiserate with progressive clap-trap, just as it doesn’t spit out answers commiserate with puritanical clap-trap, or commiserate with whatever brand of bull the majority happens to favor at the moment.

      • Tara says:

        I believe we just said the same thing here. Kathy may be right as far as the letter of the law is concerned but thankfully, Deen and her brand got exactly what they deserved. That is social justice.

    • badrockandroll says:

      Kate, you’ve touched on one of the two things that I don’t understand. I haven’t seen any evidence that the plaintiff leaked the deposition. I don’t know how it became public. I am rather inclined to believe that Paula’s legal time (since fired) didn’t bother to ask for a protective order, especially since they did such a shoddy job of questioning her in the deposition.

      The other thing I don’t understand is the blanket ruling from California that one has to be a visible minority in order to suffer in a workplace that is racist. I am a WASP and have worked in such a place. My supervisor used racist language and allowed racist behaviour to occur, and he used and tolerated other “isms” as well, but the words and actions of sexism and homophobia aren’t quite as ugly I guess. Going to work each day was debilitating, but I couldn’t fathom the stress and pain of filing a suit against this man, who was well regarded by upper management because he was a go-getter and an achiever. I kept thinking of that old saying “First they came for the Jews, but I was not Jewish, so I did nothing”. I was not brave enough to do anything, so I quit. IMO, that ruling will create workplaces that are poisonous.

      • Tara says:

        Ita unfortunately. Your honesty is refreshing and I hope more people find the courage to speak up like Lisa Jackson.

      • Katherine says:

        I haven’t read the entire opinion by the judge but he may be differentiating between a cause of action for racial discrimination and the factor of racial discrimination in creating a hostile work environment which is another cause of action in the lawsuit. There are different standards of proof for these claims of action.

        But despite what I’ve been reading by inadequately informed gossip columnists on the net, nothing I’ve read can be interpreted to mean Paula Dean won her lawsuit.

    • LaurieH says:

      It’s a little simplistic for people to blame Paula for not settling right out of the gate, given that she likely had little say in the matter. This claim of discrimination in her restaurant would have filed with her insurance company, under her EPLI coverage (to be specific). The claims adjuster likely would have found that the woman suing had no standing in the racial discrimination portion of the claim and therefore sent this woman reservation of rights letter. It is quite likely that the insurance company made a settlement offer on the remaining portion of the claim, but the woman (Ms Jackson) turned it down hoping for a bigger pay day. From there, depositions and mediation would have occured. The insurance company would have asked a judge to rule on the discrimination claim, which he did and threw out. The insurance company would then have gone back to Jackson’s lawyers with a deadline to accept their settlement offer. In most states, if settlement offers are rejected and the claim goes to trial and the jury comes back with a verdict that is below the settlement offer by a certain percentage, the plaintiff is stuck paying the defense’s fees and costs (hundreds of thousands of dollars). Ms. Jackson’s lawyers would have then tried to convince her to take the settlement because juries are unpredictable and warn her she could get popped for fees and costs. Not to warn her of this possibility and, instead urge her to go to trial would be malpractice. Ultimately, Jackson accepted the settlement offer – and offer that was on the table right away. So this isn’t Paula Deen not offering to settle until the end. This is Ms Jackson not accepting the offer until the end when a judge dismissed part of her lawsuit. This is all very typical and routine.

      • Tara says:

        Interesting. Thank you for posting. Still can’t stand Deen.

      • Katherine says:

        I believe it was learned that Paula Dean’s attorneys initially advised her to settle – before any depositions were taken. There was evidence that Dean had been warned previously of the improper/illegal practices going on in her businesses. Dean allegedly chose not to do anything. I have never read anywhere that any settlement offer was made to the plaintiff before now.

        Didn’t Dean fire her original lawyers? Possibly because they did advise her to settle and she didn’t want to hear it.

  6. lady mary. says:

    iam sure i would suffer a seizure if i saw that face in real life,who knows what tthe true story is ,i just hate givin this woman any publicity,can she just go away into her butter dungeon

  7. Bridget says:

    I’ve just had such a bad feeling about Paula Deen ever since her decision not to disclose her Type 2 diabetes until she had her deal with Norodisc. That was really icky.

    • JudyK says:

      Yep, she’s a fraud, plain and simple, and that includes her accent, which was quite normal until she started becoming famous, and it got more and more fake.

      Not dissing any Southern women…my relatives live in South Carolina, but they do NOT talk that way and they don’t use y’all as a filler for every other word.

      • RPG says:

        Yeah, no kidding. She started sounding like a cartoon character and it did come off as somewhat disingenuous.

  8. janie says:

    It’s over and done, she paid a big price for all of this. She’s lost almost everything.. Time to move on. She destroyed her empire herself.

  9. Ag says:

    Ugh. Too bad. I would have love to see this awful woman squirm and fake-cry a while longer. (Ps. All her crappy stuff is on the clearance rack at our local Target. Hahaha!)

    • Onyx XV says:

      I feel the same. I live in Savannah and she is as fake as they come. I was disappointed to hear the case settled because I was enjoying watching her (not undeserved) downfall.

  10. cjean says:

    Settling ‘outside of court’ would be called bribery..maybe that happened to the federal judge who threw out the case but that’s not something I would print without evidence since that is a pretty big accusation. I personally would have counter sued Lisa Jackson for damages and legal fees.

  11. Amy says:

    The way you worded this I thought the case got punted on summary judgement which would mean that there’s not enough validity and facts to establish a claim by the plaintiff. I went and looked- the lawsuit didnt get dropped. It settled. That’s extreme common, by the way, most lawsuits settle after discovery. She should have settled earlier. Stupid on her part.

    • Gia says:

      Bingo! And by making sure to say in the statement ‘without costs and fees to the attorneys’ (which means the same thing) makes it sound like, to those who don’t understand legal jargon, that Deen won in some way. She paid her off. Plain and simple.

  12. JudyK says:

    The case was NOT dropped–it was settled out of Court. Paula paid off her accuser so the facts would not come out at trial and further damage her image.

    Why can’t anyone understand this.

  13. Janet says:

    Sounds like a whole lotta loot got exchanged under the table. Just sayin’.