LOS ANGELES--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Stanley Wilson, a news producer who claims to have suffered racial discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination and defamation by CNN, achieved a significant victory last week when the Court of Appeal overturned and denied the news network’s request for an anti-SLAPP statute.
“We are very pleased with the outcome and this week’s decision in favor of Mr. Wilson”
Attorneys Carney Shegerian of Shegerian & Associates and Lisa Maki, Jill McDonell and Jennifer Ostertag of the Law Offices of Lisa L. Maki, teamed to represent Wilson and successfully convinced the Court of Appeal of the State of California to reverse an earlier decision on the matter.
Wilson had worked for CNN for more than 17 years and received several industry awards of excellence for his news producing. He worked as field producer and writer of news and documentaries, covering stories including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and elections and contributing to such programs as Black In America and Homicide In Hollenbeck. Wilson claims that Peter Janos, who served as his immediate or general supervisor for his entire 17 years at CNN, never liked Wilson and never wanted him at the Los Angeles bureau because of Wilson’s natural characteristics, including his race, color and ancestry, among other things. Wilson was terminated in 2014, after he complained of discrimination.
The trial court had initially granted CNN’s anti-SLAPP motion against Wilson, in theory to protect CNN’s First Amendment rights. Wilson’s legal team appealed that decision, however, and received notice Monday that the court of appeal agreed with Wilson’s argument and reversed the original decision.
In the official court document reporting on the decision, the Court of Appeal noted that Wilson v. CNN “…is a private employment discrimination and retaliation case, not an action designed to prevent defendants from exercising their First Amendment rights. Defendants may have a legitimate defense but the merits of that defense should be resolved through the normal litigation process, with the benefit of discovery, and not at the initial phase of this action.”
“We are very pleased with the outcome and this week’s decision in favor of Mr. Wilson,” said Shegerian. “CNN’s conduct and treatment of our client actually fall well outside the scope of the anti-SLAPP statute. Hopefully the court’s refusal to grant CNN’s motion will further serve to put employers on notice that they cannot abuse the anti-SLAPP statute. In fact, the request was an egregious inversion of a statute designed to protect employees from big corporations. Now we can proceed with the case and upcoming trial where we plan to share the systematic discriminatory behavior Mr. Wilson, a tirelessly hard-working and award-winning journalist, endured at the hands of his former supervisors and place of work.”
Case # BC559720
Located in Santa Monica, Shegerian & Associates is a law firm specializing in litigating on behalf of employees who have been wronged by their employers or citizens who have suffered personal injury or wrongful death due to the negligence of others. Possessing an unparalleled success record as litigators (Carney Shegerian, Trial Lawyer of the Year Award winner for 2013, has won 73 jury trials in his career, including 31 seven figure verdicts), Shegerian & Associates is passionately dedicated to serving the needs of its clients. For more information about the firm, visit www.ShegerianLaw.com.
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