NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- A federal judge has refused to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit by two men who were removed from a Continental Airlines flight on New Year's Eve when a passenger complained about "brown-skinned men."
The Houston-based airline sought dismissal, arguing its employees have authority to bar passengers who might be "inimical to safety" under a federal law. The airline also said another law gives them broad protection in reporting "suspicious activity."
U.S. District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise disagreed, ruling that intentional racial discrimination is not permissible.
He did not rule on the merit of the passengers' claims, only that they deserve a chance to prove that unlawful bias was the reason for their removal.
The airline contended its employees had good cause to remove the passengers.
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