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'Desperate Housewives' Sued for Wrongful Termination by Hollywood Television Star

September 2, 2011

In recent news that our Costa Mesa labor and employment attorneys have been watching, a Los Angeles, a California judge has advised Nicollette Sheridan, the former star of the popular television show Desperate Housewives, to settle her wrongful termination lawsuit against ABC and the show's creator and executive producer Marc Cherry, that she filed last year.

This week, in Los Angeles Superior Court, Sheridan and her legal team were told by the judge that they were going to spend a lot of money on this wrongful termination case--urging them to settle.

The Superior Court Judge also limited the damages that Sheridan could receive if she would win at the trial--ruling that Sheridan can only ask for damages for one year of pay on the show, instead of the entire run of the series. The show will start its eighth season this fall, and it will be the show's last.

The wrongful termination lawsuit has also reportedly been pared down since last year, as the judge threw out Sheridan's harassment charges, and ruled this week that the television actress could not make reference to Cherry's alleged rude behavior in the trial.

In the original lawsuit, Sheridan accused Cherry of acting with abusive and overly aggressive behavior, and for striking her across the face on-set in September of 2008. Sheridan claimed that Cherry's hostility grew after she discussed the alleged incident with ABC, leading to her character being killed off the show in the fifth season as an act of retaliation.

Cherry denied the assault and claimed that the decision to kill off Sheridan's character on the show was made months before the alleged on-set altercation.

Sheridan's lawyer reportedly argued that the jury should be able to deliberate on whether Sheridan was entitled to two seasons worth of wages since she had the option to go back to the show for those years. The judge stated that Desperate Housewives' producers had the discretion to write off Sheridan's character on the show, and there was no case law that would allow the actress entitlement to seek wages beyond the sixth season.

A trial is scheduled to begin in October, with a jury considering only Sheridan's allegations of battery and wrongful termination. According to the Associated Press, if Sheridan and her team win the lawsuit, she could be entitled to receive punitive damages, but the amount of the damages would be limited to around $980,000--the amount that she would have been compensated during the sixth season, had she not been killed off on the show.

The show Desperate Housewives first premiered on ABC in 2004, as a splashy primetime soap opera starring Sheridan, along with Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria and Marcia Cross, and has been a popular show consistently garnering high ratings.

In cities throughout Orange County, California, contact our attorneys at Howard Law, PC today for a free consultation about your labor and employment rights.

Judge Limits Actress' Damages in 'Housewives' case, AP/Knox News, August 30, 2011

Judge urges Nicollette Sheridan to settle 'Desperate Housewives' lawsuit,, August 30, 2011

L.A. judge pares down Nicollette Sheridan's suit against ABC, Entertainment Weekly, August 30, 2011

Nicollette Sheridan's Desperate Housewives Lawsuit, The Daily Beast, May 3, 2011

Related Web Resources:

California Department of Industrial Relations, (DIR)

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