The Paula Deen lawsuit filed against her by Lisa Jackson was settled today.
In a one-sentence order filed in Georgia federal court, the case was dismissed by agreement of the parties, with no award of any legal fees or court costs. It was also concluded “with prejudice,” a legal term that means that lawsuit can never be filed again and that this is the end of the line for all claims.
No terms of the settlement were announced, which is not unusual in high-profile legal cases of this kind, but presumably someone wrote a big check to avoid the further expense of a trial.
Earlier this month, the presiding judge threw out the racial discrimination component of Jackson’s lawsuit against Deen, ruling that Jackson, who is white, had no legal standing to pursue that particular claim. The sexual harassment charges were left in place, however.
Today, however, the case ended with an out-of-court settlement as most lawsuits do. Jackson’s lawyer said in an email that “the matter has been amicably resolved,” the Bloomberg news agency reports.
The celebrity chef has been engulfed in a huge controversy as a result of a lawsuit filed by former employee Jackson who accused Deen and her brother of allowing a hostile work environment including sexual harassment and racial slurs while Jackson worked as manager of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah, Ga. The revelations about Deen’s use of racial slurs years ago emerged as a result of deposition transcripts in the case.
Deen’s fall from grace has caused her to lose her gig with the Food Network as well as business deals with Smithfield Foods, Walmart, diabetes drugmaker Novo Nordisk, and many other risk-averse marketing partners. Random House has even pulled the plugged on her new cookbook even thought it was a guaranteed best seller.
The settlement of the Paula Deen lawsuit prompted the southern cooking diva to release the following statement:
“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. During this time my faith has strengthened me and the tremendous outpouring of support as well as prayers from folks from all walks of life has been both humbling and overwhelming. I am confident that those who truly know how I live my live know that I believe in kindness and fairness for everyone.”
Jackson released a surprisingly conciliatory statement about the controversy that in part praised Dean for helping Jackson pursue her career and that “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.”
Now that the Paula Deen lawsuit has been settled, do you think she will be able to make a television comeback at some point or otherwise rebuild her public image?