Friday, August 16, 2013

Paula Deen's Deposition: The Answer - COTW #156

Earlier this week, I blogged about Paula Deen's victory in the race discrimination claims against her. But, I had a question: Why was Paula Deen's deposition taken before the motion to dismiss was resolved? Loyal reader (and MQB colleague), Dave Weixel, found the answer and emailed it to me.

The judge in the case actually denied a motion to stay discovery filed by both sides:
In January, Senior U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. denied without explanation a motion to postpone discovery in the race discrimination and sex harassment case brought against Deen and her brother by one of their restaurant managers. That motion to stay discovery—which, if granted, would have postponed the deposition in which Deen admitted using a racial epithet—was made by lawyers representing both the defendants and the plaintiff.
This strikes me as odd - discovery, and in particular depositions, can be extraordinarily expensive. Think about all the time the parties, their attorneys, and a paid reporter spent in depositions addressing claims that were dismissed at the pleading stage (of course, the primary cost for Paula Deen came from the content of her testimony).

Had the deposition taken place after the race discrimination claims were dismissed, the racially charged questions probably would have been off the table . . . . contrary to the quote in the linked article from an attorney:
It's probably a permissible question in a deposition . . . . You are trying to determine the atmosphere. If you use the N word, you probably have greasy paws on women.
Sorry. Not buying it. I invite my readers to weigh in by dropping a comment. But seriously, did anybody read Paula Deen's "n-word" testimony and think, "yeah, she probably has her 'greasy paws' on women"? I'm guessing no.

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