July 11 Celebrity chef Paula Deen has hired new
lawyers from an internationally known firm to defend her in a
well publicized employment discrimination lawsuit, according to
Deen, 66, who had a multimillion-dollar enterprise built on
books, restaurants, television shows and housewares, has lost
about a dozen business deals after a deposition surfaced last
month in which the TV chef admitted to using the "N-word."
Deen and her businesses will now be represented by Morgan
Lewis & Bockius lawyers including Grace Speights, Jocelyn
Cuttino and Alexis Thomas, said the court document filed on
Thursday. Her former lawyers at Savannah, Georgia-based firm
Oliver Maner asked to withdraw as counsel.
A spokeswoman for Morgan Lewis confirmed the move, and an
Oliver Maner attorney said via email that the firm would issue a
Pharmacy chain Walgreens, department store JC Penney
and Sears Holdings Corp, which owns department
store Sears and discount retailer Kmart, all said last month
they planned to discontinue Deen's product lines.
Scripps Networks Interactive Inc's cable TV channel
the Food Network, which aired Deen's cooking shows, was the
first to drop Deen. A number of companies have severed ties with
the chef, including Caesars Entertainment Corp, which
operated Deen-branded restaurants; retailers Target Corp
and Wal-Mart Stores Inc ; and Danish drug maker Novo
Nordisk A/S, which used Deen as a pitchwoman.
The lawsuit in a Georgia federal court involves claims of
sexual harassment, and alleges a pattern of racial
discrimination against African-American employees in Deen's
The case in U.S. District Court, Southern District of
Georgia is Lisa Jackson vs. Paula Deen, Paula Deen Enterprises
et al., 12-cv-139.
(Reporting by Dan Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Mohammad