Paula Deen suit is dismissed; plaintiff says celebrity chef is 'woman of compassion and kindness'

The restaurant manager who sued Paula Deen and her brother for alleged workplace discrimination has dismissed the lawsuit and issued a statement calling Deen a “woman of compassion and kindness.”

The suit settled on Friday for undisclosed terms, report the Huffington Post, Bloomberg News, Reuters and Fox News. There was no award of fees or costs to either party, according to the dismissal order (PDF).

The plaintiff, Lisa Jackson, had claimed racial bias and sexual harassment by Deen’s brother while working at a restaurant he co-owned with Deen. Senior U.S. District Judge William Moore Jr. of Savannah tossed the racial bias claim on Aug. 12, ruling that Jackson, who is white, had no standing to sue on that basis.

Jackson issued a statement supporting Deen. “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,” Jackson said. “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. 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 and I am very pleased that this matter has been now been resolved and can now be put behind us.”

Deen had testified in a May deposition that “of course” she had used the N-word, but it was a long time ago. Lawyers for Deen and the plaintiff had sought to delay discovery pending a ruling on a motion to dismiss, but the judge refused to issue a stay before the deposition. Deen lost her Food Network contract after the disclosure.

Deen said in a statement that she is “working to review the workplace environment issues that were raised in this matter and retool all of my business operations.”

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