Judge dismisses discrimination suit against CNN, Turner



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ATLANTA (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a class-action racial discrimination lawsuit filed by current and former black employees of Time Warner, owner of Turner networks including CNN, TNT and TBS.

U.S. District Court Judge William Duffey of the Northern District of Georgia wrote in Tuesday's dismissal order that the two employees named in the suit failed to show that intentional discrimination based on their race occurred.

The lawsuit filed in December claimed a pattern of discrimination against black employees, particularly men, in evaluations, pay and promotions.

The suit relied heavily on an internal company report on diversity at Turner and CNN, but Duffey said the statistics in the report could be explained by "non-discriminatory factors" and didn't support the claims of intentional and widespread discrimination. Duffey also criticized the original complaint as "fraught with conclusory claims, unsupported by factual allegations sufficient to support the inferences" of discrimination.

An attorney who represented the networks referred The Associated Press to a company spokeswoman on Wednesday. That person didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

The judge also refused a request that the plaintiffs be allowed to file an amended complaint. He said the changes were "only cosmetic amendments" and didn't fix the larger issues with the claim.

Daniel Meachum, an attorney for the employees, called Duffey's decision disappointing. Meachum said 190 current and former employees are participating in the class-action suit and he plans to refile the case with different employees named as lead plaintiffs.

"Black people are still being discriminated at CNN and Turner and Time Warner and this order does not put an end to that discrimination," Meachum said in a statement. "So we will endeavor to get our clients their day in court. Our heads may be bloodied but unbowed."

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Kathleen Foody

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