It’s the lawsuit that won’t go away! But maybe it will now, unless it’s appealed further.
Remember when ten former black contestants on American Idol alleged they were the victims of racial discrimination because of the way they were disqualified from the show? The 2nd Circuit Court of appeals declined to revive claims.
The lawsuit came in July 2013 from Corey Clark, Chris Golightly, Jaered Andrews, The Brittenum Twins, Donnie Williams and others. Jermaine Jones joined the suit later. See the original list with a summary HERE.
The complaint concerned the way producers exploited criminal background checks and “rap sheets” of the show’s black contestants to deprive them of the opportunity to win the reality TV show.
Last November, U.S District Judge Naomi Buchwald ruled that the plaintiffs, except Golightly, filed the suit outside of the statute of limitations. Golightly’s claims were dismissed because he hadn’t brought sufficient fact to prove his race or criminal record motivated his disqualification (the disqualification was presented as a conflict with a prior contract).
On Monday, a three-judge panel at the 2nd Circuit affirmed.
“Here, the district court properly concluded that plaintiffs’ claims accrued when they were eliminated from the show, which was communicated to each plaintiff at the time of their respective eliminations,” states a summary order . “Insofar as plaintiffs submit that the limitations periods did not begin to run until plaintiffs knew or had reason to know of the allegedly discriminatory motives for their eliminations, we need not here decide whether accrual can ever be so based because plaintiffs have failed in any event plausibly to allege that they did not have reason to know of those motives until 2012.”
As for Golightly, the appeals court adds the district judge made no error:
“Indeed, the complaint does not even allege that defendants were aware of his criminal history. Rather, the complaint provides a different, and entirely valid, reason for Golightly’s disqualification: his failure to disclose that he was previously under contract as a member of a music group named Dream5, despite being explicitly asked in the American Idol background questionnaire whether ‘he had ever been party to a music-related industry contract.’”
Fox and other defendants including Fremantle and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, were represented by Daniel Petrocelli, Mark Wayne Robertson and Molly Lens.
Read more at Hollywood Reporter