Paula Deen's efforts to silence her lawsuit-filing former employee appear to have fallen flat.
Judge Louisa Abbot, who is presiding over the case, denied Deen's attorneys' request for a gag order that would restrict any pretrial comments in the sexual harassment suit filed against the Food Network star and her brother Bubba Hiers.
But that's not all that's brewing in the case….
Deen's attorneys have also asked the court to dismiss the one-year-old suit filed against them by Lisa Jackson, the former general manager of the duo's Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House.
In the suit, Jackson claimed she was the victim of sexual harassment and violent behavior at the hands of Hiers and Deen, and witnessed the pair being racist towards their minority employees during the five years she worked at the Savannah, Ga. restaurant.
But in a motion filed March 21, Deen's attorneys said, "None of the allegations in the complaint relating to racial discrimination should stand. These allegations are spurious and, as importantly, wholly irrelevant, immaterial, impertinent and improper as [Jackson] has no claim under the laws of this State for the salacious allegations she has made concerning race."
"These allegations were made for the sole purpose of obtaining leverage in a lawsuit by creating a media firestorm," Deen's Attorney, Gregory Hodges, went on.
To further prove this point, Hodges also included a written letter in the motion from Jackson, in which the former employee praised Paula for giving people "hope."
"I have become the independent woman I have always wanted to be," Jackson wrote in the letter. "I have been given opportunities that I never thought possible, all because of you and Bubba. You have the ability to touch people and offer hope in situations where they feel nothing but hopelessness."
So, what did Jackson's attorneys have to say about the latest development in the Deen case?
"The complaint will not be dismissed," Jackson's attorney, Wesley Woolf, told E! News, going on to say he should have an informative response delivered back to Deen's attorneys by April 20.
And although Deen's attorneys' gag order was denied, Woolf said, "We are trying to comply with both the intent and the letter of the judge's rulings and preferences. Although no gag order is in place, I am keeping myself busy doing the legal work necessary to prove our case, and I am doing our part to avoid trying this case in the press."
Paula's attorney, Hodges, could not be reached for comment.