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Entertainment Supreme Court: Byron Allen Has To Show Race Was Sole Reason His Channels Were Denied By Comcast

16:50  23 march  2020
16:50  23 march  2020 Source:   deadline.com

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PREVIOUSLY, 6 AM PT: Byron Allen ’s racial discrimination case against Comcast comes before Supreme Court today — and that very In other words, Allen would have to show that were it not for race , Comcast would have agreed to carry his channels . By contrast, Allen’s legal team contends

PREVIOUSLY, 6 AM PT: Byron Allen ’s racial discrimination case against Comcast comes before Supreme Court today — and that very fact has elevated his industry-centric In other words, Allen would have to show that were it not for race , Comcast would have agreed to carry his channels .

The Supreme Court sided with Comcast over Byron Allen in his racial discrimination case against the cable giant, ruling that in order for his lawsuit to survive, he bears the burden of showing racial discrimination was the “but for” cause in the cable giant’s refusal to carry his entertainment channels.

Byron Allen wearing a suit and tie © Shutterstock

The justices, in a unanimous decision, ruled that to prevail, “a plaintiff must initially plead and ultimately prove that, but for race, it would not have suffered the loss of a legally protected right,” according to the opinion.

The decision means that Allen’s lawsuit will go back to the lower court, where he can again try to prove his case.

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Byron Allen says his race factored in Comcast ’s decision not to carry programming from his company, Entertainment Studios WASHINGTON — A cautious Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed to be looking for a narrow way to rule in a racial discrimination case against Comcast , the

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Supreme Court justices grilled lawyers for Byron Allen and Comcast on Comcast argued that legal precedent demands that Allen should have to prove that the case meets “As long as you have enough in your complaint to show racial animus and a reasonable inference

At issue was whether Allen’s $20 billion lawsuit should have survived beyond the pleading stage by merely proving that, in Comcast’s decision to deny carriage of his company’s channels, his race was a “motivating factor” or whether it was the sole cause, also known as “but for” in legalese. The ruling was viewed as having a potentially significant impact on future racial discrimination cases.

The Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of Allen last year, but in oral arguments some of the justices found fault with the lower court’s reasoning. There also was skepticism of issuing a definitive ruling that established a lower threshold in racial discrimination cases when a case is first filed, and a higher one if it reaches a trial.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, who delivered the opinion for the court, wrote, “Here, a plaintiff bears the burden of showing that race was a but-for cause of its injury. And, while the materials the plaintiff can rely on to show causation may change as a lawsuit progresses from filing to judgment, the burden itself remains constant.”

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Byron Allen ’s racial discrimination case against Comcast Corp. on Wednesday heads to the Supreme Court , where justices will Allen filed a billion lawsuit against Comcast in February 2015, arguing that the nation’s largest cable operator was discriminating against his company, Entertainment

Comcast looked poised for victory during arguments over a billion racial discrimination case brought by former comedian Byron Allen . Allen argues that all he should have to do at the initial stage of his lawsuit is to show that race was a motivating factor behind Comcast 's decision.

At the oral arguments, Erwin Chemerinsky, who was arguing for Allen, acknowledged that he eventually would have to show that race was the sole cause for Comcast’s rejection. But he argued that it would be an “insurmountable burden” to meet if plaintiffs have to prove that at the outset of the case, as they would not have the benefit of conducting depositions and discovery.

The case hinged on a section of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that holds that African Americans must have the same right to contracts as whites.

A number of civil rights groups, including the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, sided with Allen in the case, while the Department of Justice supported Comcast’s position.

In a statement, Comcast said, they “are pleased the Supreme Court unanimously restored certainty on the standard to bring and prove civil rights claims. The well-established framework that has protected civil rights for decades continues. The nation’s civil rights laws have not changed with this ruling; they remain the same as before the case was filed.

They added, “We now hope that on remand the 9th Circuit will agree that the District Court properly applied that standard in dismissing Mr. Allen’s case three separate times for failing to state any claim.”

The company has defended its diversity record, and said that “we will continue to look for ways to add even more innovative and diverse programming that appeals to our diverse viewership and continue our diversity and inclusion efforts across the company.”

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