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NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former Wall Street Journal editor may pursue a racial discrimination case against her one-time employer, after alleging that she was fired because she is black, a federal judge has ruled.

Judge Deborah Batts of the federal district court in Manhattan said a juror could conclude that the race of Carolyn Phillips, the paper’s first black assistant managing editor, was “at least one motivating factor” in decisions leading to her November 2002 dismissal after two decades at the paper.

“Plaintiff has produced sufficient circumstantial evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether intentional discrimination influenced the adverse employment decisions at issue,” possibly violating federal and state law, Batts said in her 45-page order dated Monday.

Batts’ ruling sets the stage for a possible trial. The judge rejected Phillips’ separate claim alleging discrimination on the basis of disability. Phillips originally sought compensatory damages and $5 million of punitive damages.

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