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HomeCurrent EventsByron Allen's $20 Billion Lawsuit Halted By Supreme Court's Ruling

Byron Allen’s $20 Billion Lawsuit Halted By Supreme Court’s Ruling

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Larry French/Getty Images for Entertainment Studios)

On Monday the Supreme Court unanimously ruled to overturn a lower court’s ruling that favored television mogul Byron Allen. Allen, the CEO of Entertainment Studios Inc., claims Comcast refused to license his company’s channels because he is Black and that Comcast discriminates against minorities in its licensing agreements. On Monday, the Supreme Court essentially told Allen that he needed more receipts, if he wanted to claim racial discrimination.

Allen brought a $20 billion lawsuit against Comcast, which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco last year ruled could proceed. Comcast, however, appealed to the Supreme Court. The legal showdown troubled many legal observers because of the potential implications: a loss for Allen could very well endanger the civil and economic rights of Black people and all other vulnerable groups. At the heart of the debate was the burden of proof necessary to bring claims of racial discrimination. Allen had hoped the Court would rule that, essentially, race was a consideration in his case. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, ruled that Allen must prove that it was his race alone that led to Comcast’s decision.

Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the opinion for the court, writing, “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.” The implications for Black people are clear: in a world full of explicit and implicit bias and racism, it is up to the disadvantaged to prove that any form of discrimination they encounter is solely due to race and no other motivating factor. That level of proof is scarcely available in 2020. Black people sense, intuitively, that Michael Brown and Sandra Bland are dead because of their race. However, there are is no singular piece of evidence that substantiates that.

The Supreme Court’s ruling means that Allen’s case will now be sent back to the lower court, where he may still pursue his lawsuit. If so, Allen will have to play by a stricter set of rules, outlined by the Supreme Court’s ruling. Time will tell what implications this ruling has but today the focus for Black people must be, as always, a strict commitment to group economics.

About Post Author

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D'Juan Hopewell
D'Juan Hopewell
I care about Black Power. Period. Currently working on creating jobs and funding new startups on the South Side of Chicago and writing here and there at HopewellThought.com. Follow me @HopewellThought.
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