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Judge Grants Victoria Rowell The Right To Pursue Her Amended 'Retaliation' Complaint In Lawsuit!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Former Y&R actress, Victoria Rowell (Ex-Drucilla) came out with an important win, and to advance to the next step in her amended lawsuit against her former employer, Sony.

According to The Hollywood Reporter:  On Friday morning, a California federal judge gave Rowell the go-ahead to move forward to the next stage of a lawsuit that accuses Sony Pictures Television of retaliation against her.  Back in February 2015, in a lawsuit filed against Sony, CBS and Bell Dramatic Serial Company, Rowell claimed that producers were trying to getting even with her by refusing to hire her since she left Y&R back in 2007, and then tried to get hired on The Bold and the Beautiful. 

In November of 2015, U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt threw our her claims with the conclusion that she needed to do more than assert some form of constructively open job for which she wasn’t being hired.  But at that time, the judge did allow Rowell to amend her complaint.  And in that complaint, Victoria added a retaliation claim that she also pursued a smaller part on another Sony daytime drama, Days of Our Lives, before being taken off an audition short list of actresses being considered.  In addition, and most importantly for future lawsuits, the judge once again refused to stop Rowell from  proceeding on First Amendment grounds.

In regards to the amended complaint the judge noted: “That the retaliation arose from disagreements with Plaintiff and her positions about hiring more African Americans, not ones about the appropriate racial diversity for characters on the programs.”

So, what do you think about Rowell’s retaliation claims against Sony, and the this stage of her lawsuit against her former employers? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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James R. Poissant
James R. Poissant

I couldn’t possibly guess what the outcome will be from all this but i do know that I do miss her on daytime television and most specifically as Drucilla on Y&R. We do need closure on what happened when the character went over the cliff just as much as I want closure as to Sheila really being alive. I never bought that face changing story.

davlestev1
davlestev1

I agree James..no telling where this is heading but you gotta give it to her she is quite persistent lol

Celia
Celia

….nor do I buy Kelly/Cady (Y&R) being dead, James R. I think she is now, as she was always, Victor’s lackey.
I loved Victoria as Dru. And, I refuse to believe she does not have a legitimate reason. It bothers me to no end when people are, generally, vilified without knowing the circumstances. None, of us, was there.

Maggie
Maggie

Go Victoria!!!!

Marq
Marq

Obviously they have something against her. She is a very good actress and would be a great addition to any soap.

jaybird369
jaybird369

OH, GIMME A BREAK ALREADY!!!!! ANYTHING FOR THAT WOMAN TO KEEP HERSELF IN THE PUBLIC EYE!!!!! ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!

JK
JK

100% AGREE…..MOST PEOPLE HAD ENOUGH OF HER YEARS AGO!!!!

Rapids
Rapids

There is no God given right or civil right to be hired for any job, especially if the candidate had previously sued the company.
Another nuisance lawsuit.

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

yawn….

Barbara from Atlanta
Barbara from Atlanta

I will preface my answer with the comment that I am a lawyer.

I just read the judge’s order. It addressed, among other things, the defendant’s motions to dismiss. Analysis of a motion to dismiss is NOT a ruling that Rowell has proven (or even introduced evidence) her claims. Rather the focus is simply on the allegations in the complaint — Did Rowell’s allegations, if analyzed as true, state a viable claim. If a motion to dismiss is denied, it does NOT mean that Rowell wins. Rather it just means the case proceeds to discovery (gathering of admissible factual evidence — interrogatories, document production, and depositions). The fact gathering may result in there are no facts to support the claims either. The defendants could then move for summary judgment. In short, a motion to dismiss is a VERY early analysis of claims. A favorable ruling on such a motion does not mean there will be a trial on the claims. There is a LOT to do before that point.

The order actually is NOT very favorable to Rowell. The amended complaint named 5 defendants and contained six separate counts (not all counts being against each defendant; there are combinations of some counts against some but not others). The order denies the motion to dismiss as to ONE count —- a federal law (28 usc 1981) retaliation claim by Rowell against Sony and Corday Productions for refusing to hire her on Days of Our Lives. ALL of the other five claims and ALL of the other defendants (including Bell Serial Productions, Bell-Philip Television Productions, and CBS) are dismissed. In sum, ALL of the claims that Rowell raised concerning the failed efforts to be rehired by Y&R as Drucilla and the failed efforts to be hired as Drucilla or another character on B&B were dismissed. Rowell’s complaint failed to state a viable cause of action as to four defendants and five claims. In short, the order allows Rowell’s suit to proceed only on one count against two defendants.

I don’t have an opinion of Rowell one way or the other. I just thought that, as a lawyer, I would give my two-cents on the order. The actual ruling is not as big of a victory for Rowell as this article suggests.

Ron
Ron

This is terrific. I so enjoyed your professional explanation. Thank you for taking the time with this. I surmise you’re a fan of Y and R, so I have a pressing question regarding all the visitation Victor receives while in prison. Is this typical? I find it absurd… and wouldn’t visitors have to sign in somewhere in some official capacity? My point is, would there be a paper trail of visitor names anyone could review?

Barbara from Atlanta
Barbara from Atlanta

I don’t know anything about procedures in prison. However, I’d guess that your comments probably are correct.

There are a LOT of legal “errors” with soap scenes and plots. I’ll give a few examples from Y&R: Sharon faced a criminal case in Wisconsin for murdering Skye in Hawaii (that inane volcano death). From a legal standpoint, this was CRAZY. A Wisconsin court would have absolutely no jurisdiction to handle the prosecution of a crime in another state. In the real world, Sharon couldn’t even be indicted in Wisconsin as a basic element of any criminal case is that you have to prove the crime occurred in the jurisdiction.

I also vividly remember a scene where the lawyer (Mitchell Sherman’s son) took a “deposition” of someone in Paul’s office. The “deposition” was Sherman turning on a tape recorder as he questioned the individual. Completely ridiculous for several reasons. One, there was NO pending civil action (you typically don’t take a deposition in a criminal case) so there really was no “deposition” (fact discovery of litigation). Secondly, a deposition involves questioning by a lawyer while a certified court reporter transcribes the questions and answers. It is very formal — for possible use at trial. A lawyer sitting down with someone and questioning them with a tape recorder would be worthless from an evidentiary standpoint unless these formalities had occurred. Sherman may have been “interviewing” the person but it damn sure was not a “deposition.” The writers didn’t seem to have a clue as the dialogue kept talking about the “deposition.”

I could go on and on but you get my point. For years, Y&R had a legal consultant (i believe he was a former or currently practicing lawyer). I’m guessing that, with budget cuts, this consultant was dropped. It certainly shows from the ham-handed efforts of writers to craft plots and scenes involving legal points.

Barbara from Atlanta
Barbara from Atlanta

One more comment about Rowell’s suit — I’m confused about the “retaliation” claim that remains. I’m guessing that Rowell must be saying that Sony and Corday refused to hire her on Days in retaliation for her efforts to have more minorities on Y&R.

All of it seems like a stretch to me from a legal point of view. (1) The alleged retaliation concerns her actions and comments about another show, involving other corporate entities? The only possible link that I could see is that the common presence of Sony and Corday having a link to both shows. Under this theory, Rowell could see sue Sony if it refused to allow her to appear on another show it oversaw —- “Shark Tank” or “Dr. Oz Show.” I’m not saying this couldn’t occur (the order thought there was some possibility it could) but it seems unlikely to me.

(2) There could be serious evidentiary proof issues for the retaliation claim. Unless there is some “smoking gun” evidence (ex: a Corday or Sony email saying “Rowell would be perfect to play Jane. But we’re not going to hire her to punish her for her comments about Y&R”), how in the world will she prove that retaliation is THE reason that she wasn’t hired?? The casting people may not have liked her look. The casting people may have viewed “Jane” as being 35 years old and thought Rowell looked too old. Maybe “Jane” was to be an obese character that Marlena was going to help and svelte Rowell was too thin for the role. I would think a LOT goes into deciding casting — mostly based on looks and screen presence. Nothing wrong with that but it definitely would show that retaliation was not the reason for deciding to cast the role with someone else.

Clearly, we don’t know all of the facts and what occurred. Discovery should flesh that out. However, looking at the claim from a purely legal standpoint, it seems to me that Rowell will have a very, very hard time proving this claim.

Celia
Celia

Lol, Ron….I simply love your comment….HILARIOUS.
There is so much I could say about Barbara’s explanation, which! Sadly, will go over most people’s heads….well, you know….legal terms and all. HaHa!!
Oh Lord! You crack me up!!!!
What about prison doctors having sex with really oooold inmates? Do said inmates have to be rich? “Is this typical”?

Ron
Ron

Even more disturbing now is that a hacker can penetrate the prison computer system and view surveillance tapes! What next? Hackers breaking down the automated locking system? Poor Wisconsin!

4ever DAYS
4ever DAYS

As a fan of DAYS and all for equal rights, I say more power to VR, but the problem I have with the situation is that Sony may lose on behalf of DAYS, but Y&R who made things horrible for VR is in the clear.

DAYS actors didn’t spit in her face. DAYS actors didn’t mock how she and/or African Americans dance. DAYS actors did not make fun of her hair. That’s all on Y&R!!!

If Sony/CBS/Y&R would’ve did the right thing by not allowing all the injustices thrown her way while at Y&R and admitted the wrongdoing, then VR wouldn’t be bothering DAYS.

Y&R created a beast and now the beast has been unleashed on DAYS. That blows!

Celia
Celia

Hi, Barbara.
Thank you for that. Both my parents are attorneys (NYC). My mom and I talk about ‘stuff’……but, I will only give my two-cents worth, peripherally. We are outsiders looking in. We are neither judge nor jury. It should just be left alone.
I hope your explanation will quash speculations.

Celia
Celia

You are do right, Barbara…..the “errors” on soaps are not just legal. The writers take many outrageous liberties with religion(s), as well. That just fires me up!!

Belle
Belle

Sony is blocking her whether the lawyer states that the lawsuit is in her favor or not. I’m a true believer in God ; be not deceived ,God is not mocked; whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Big business, small business or no business , God takes care of it all!

me3
me3

What?

Celia
Celia

Exactly, Belle: in layman’s terms….what goes around comes around.
“We reap what we sew”. And, if man does escape punishment by law; he cannot escape God’s wrath/law.
Without getting philosophical, LOL…. We should all follow that mantra.

toscanti
toscanti

I’m tired of hearing about her ridiculous lawsuit, she quit and that’s it. Filled with regret she is grasping at straws. Y&R has a large African-American cast and it’s about to get bigger. They have a wonderful writer named Susan Dansby. VR needs to grow up and except the consequences of her temper tantrums which lead to her quitting/ She’s a JOKE!

me3
me3

SHE QUIT!!!

k/kay
k/kay

The only good thing is if it ever went to court more drama then the actual show. I would love to be a fly on the wall you know casrtmates would have to give their side of the story. Sad situation KSJ hasn’t had a decent lady since she went over the cliff.

pat shorts
pat shorts

victorial rowell is not missed you cannnot make someone hire you she quit get over your self

Sukie
Sukie

How many times did Rowell quit YR, get over yourself lady, find other work. Some of the actors don’t want her back.Can you imagine the stress of trying to do your job and having to put up with her issues. Just take your drama elsewhere…

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