Chinea-Varela alleges 'open hostility'
HOLLYWOOD — A Hispanic screenwriter seeking $138 million from CBS and the Writers Guild of America West over allegations of discrimination and harassment is seeking to disqualify the judge in the case.Migdia Chinea-Varela filed the motion Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, alleging that Judge J. Spencer Letts has shown he is not impartial due to “open hostility” toward her and her attorney along with his “open familiarity and friendliness” with a CBS attorney. The suit was dismissed in 1999 but portions were reinstated in February after an appeals court ruled she should have been allowed to amend her complaint to conform with requirements that pleadings contain a “short and plain statement of the case.” Chinea-Varela, who founded the WGAW Latino Writers Committee, sued CBS and the WGAW, alleging that they violated the federal Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Employment & Housing Act by setting up a program forcing Hispanic writers into trainee positions that paid half the minimum wage in guild contracts. Reps for WGAW and CBS have said the suit was without merit.
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