CNN class-action racial discrimination case thrown out by federal judge

DeWayne Walker, an employee at CNN, has filed a separate lawsuit against CNN for discrimination was was likely to be added to the class-action suit thrown out this week by a federal judge. CREDIT: Walker

This was posted on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

A federal judge has thrown out a racial discrimination class action suit filed by current and former black CNN employees against  CNN, Turner Broadcasting and New York based parent company Time Warner.

“This discrimination represents a company-wide pattern and practice,” the lawsuit asserted back in December, 2016, “rather than a series of isolated incidents.” Attorney Daniel Meachum at the time said the company has been discriminating against blacks for more than 20 years.

Although only two people were named plaintiffs in the original case, he said he had found many more people who qualified for the class-action suit. In an interview today, he said he has now more than 190 people willing to attach their names to the lawsuit.

RELATED: Read the details of the lawsuit when it was filed here

RELATED: The judge’s 50-page decision in full is here

U.S. District Court judge William Duffey Jr. didn’t buy the argument, saying it “is fraught with conclusory claims, unsupported by factual allegations sufficient to support the inferences claimed by Plaintiffs.”

He hammered the lawsuit for lacking factual support for allegations like an interview process stacked against black candidates and the concentration of black employees in less important departments. He also noted statistics about individuals “of color” included minorities beyond blacks.

Meacham, the attorney for the plaintiffs, said he plans to address Duffey’s issues with the initial lawsuit and re-file sometime in the future. “I won’t say I’m disappointed or surprised,” he said. “He made the observations that he made. I respect and like Judge Duffey.”

He tried to look at this from a positive light, calling this a blessing in disguise. “This is a battle, not a war,” he said. “The first scrimmage, it was in the favor of CNN and Turner. I applaud them for it. But the war is not over. We endeavor to keep on fighting.”

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