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Court: 'Desperate Housewives' star Sheridan wasn't fired

Nicollette Sheridan was not wrongfully fired from Desperate Housewives, an appeals court ruled Thursday, but the actress should be allowed to pursue claims that she was retaliated against for complaining that the show’s creator struck her.

A three justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed with attorneys for ABC and Touchstone Television that Sheridan’s contract was not renewed after the show’s fifth season and that barred the actress from receiving a new trial on her wrongful termination lawsuit.

Nicollette Sheridan's 'Desperate Housewives' trial: Judge drops battery charge against creator Marc Cherry

The battery charge in Nicollette Sheridan’s trial against Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry has been dropped, per judge Elizabeth Allen White. With that part of the case removed, Cherry is no longer a defendant. The case still includes a wrongful termination claim against former employers ABC and ABC Studios.

Sheridan claimed in her original $6 million suit that Cherry had struck her on the set of Desperate Housewives on Sept. 24, 2008.

In dismissing the charge, the judge made the point that Sheridan’s claims did not meet the standard of proof for battery. The only question that remains in the case now is if Sheridan was, indeed, retaliated against by ABC when her character, Edie Britt, was killed off the show and she was let go. With the battery charge dropped, the jury will still be asked to decide on the wrongful-termination claim.

Cherry appeared outside the courtroom after the charge was dismissed and spoke to the press for the first time. “Obviously I’m thrilled by the judge’s decision,” he said. “But I’m going to withhold further comment until this matter is resolved completely.”

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more:
Nicollette Sheridan’s ‘Desperate Housewives’ trial: A round-up of essential takeaways so far
‘Desperate Housewives’ major character death revealed: Read an EXCLUSIVE interview with the star!
‘Desperate Housewives’ trial: Creator says Nicollette Sheridan let go because of ‘unprofessional behavior’
Nicollette Sheridan at ‘Desperate Housewives’ trial: Creator Marc Cherry ‘hit me upside the head’
Nicollette Sheridan’s ‘Desperate Housewives’ trial starts today
‘Desperate Housewives’ trial begins: ‘This is a man hitting a woman’

Nicollette Sheridan's 'Desperate Housewives' trial: A round-up of essential takeaways so far

Nicollette Sheridan’s wrongful termination and battery case against Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, ABC, and ABC Studios has continued this entire week in downtown Los Angeles. A variety of witnesses have been called — including Cherry, ABC executives Mark Pedowitz and Steve McPherson, Desperate star James Denton, and producers George Perkins and Sabrina Wind — who have all contributed heartily to the deluge of information out there about the case. We’ve updated you earlier in the week, but to help you sort it all out, EW has distilled the essential information from the last few days of testimony:

+ CASE CLOSED…SOON: Judge Elizabeth Allen White told the jury today that she expects the case to wrap — closing arguments and all — by Tuesday, March 13. That means that it’s highly unlikely that many on the potential witness list — including high profile names like Sheridan’s former co-stars Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman, and Eva Longoria — will be called to testify. White said that it was “not appropriate” for the stars to appear — the defense had hoped to use them to show how Cherry interacted with them over physical direction. (However, the defense could still call them under other auspices.)


'Desperate Housewives' major character death revealed: Read an EXCLUSIVE interview with the star!


Back in late January, EW broke the news that a major character on Desperate Housewives would die during the March 11 episode of the long-running ABC soap. The identity of the character was to remain secret until the episode premiered, of course, to preserve the surprise element of the storyline. But the details trickling out of testimony at the Nicollette Sheridan wrongful-termination trial in Los Angeles have messed with that plan: The news of the character’s identity leaked out today in the ongoing court battle.

EW was on set for the character’s dramatic final moments and had the first, exclusive interview with the star. Since the news is already out there, we thought we’d share an excerpt of the interview after the jump, but — SPOILER ALERT! — do not click if you don’t want to know who got the ax. But, read on if you want to hear how the actor was told, the reaction of co-stars, and what’s next. READ FULL STORY

'Desperate Housewives' trial: Lawyer testifies that Nicollette Sheridan was afraid she'd lose her job

Both Nicollette Sheridan and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry have finished their juicy testimony in the actress’ wrongful termination suit that’s playing out in downtown Los Angeles, so other players are now taking the stage. Today, Sheridan’s entertainment lawyer Neil Meyer took the stand and told the court that the former Desperate Housewives actress was afraid she’d lose her job after an encounter where Cherry allegedly struck her on the head, on set. Sheridan is seeking $6 million in damages for her eventual termination, which she says happened in retaliation for complaining about the incident with Cherry.

While on the stand today, Sheridan’s lawyer Meyer characterized Cherry as a “vindictive man.” (That remark was eventually struck from the record, at the request of Cherry’s lawyer.) He also explained that Sheridan has been willing to move on from the situation. “We weren’t looking to ABC/Disney to do anything,” Meyer said during questioning, “because Nicollette was concerned about retaliation. Marc Cherry had apologized, and she was prepared to put her head down and go back to work. Nicollette was upset, but she was also worried about her job.”


'Desperate Housewives' trial: Creator says Nicollette Sheridan let go because of 'unprofessional behavior'

This morning at Nicollette Sheridan’s ongoing wrongful termination trial in downtown Los Angeles, Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry took the stand and told the court that he let the actress go because of her “unprofessional behavior.” Added Cherry: “It wasn’t the primary reason for my decision. But it was something I was aware of.”

Cherry, however, also said that all reasons for her firing were secondary to “creative desires” to boost the show’s storylines in following seasons. Sheridan claims that she was fired from the once-hot series in retaliation to her complaints about an encounter she had with Cherry that got physical. READ FULL STORY

Nicollette Sheridan at 'Desperate Housewives' trial: Creator Marc Cherry 'hit me upside the head'

Former Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan took the stand in Los Angeles Thursday as the first witness in a trial to decide if she was wrongfully terminated from her role as Edie Britt on the ABC primetime soap opera.

Wearing a dark blue suit jacket and with her hair pulled back in a ponytail, Sheridan described the day she claims she was slapped by Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry.

The set-up, provided by Sheridan, was that a “funny” line Edie said during rehearsals had been cut from the script. So the actress approached Cherry about why it was gone. “What is it that you want?” Sheridan recounts him as saying. Then, she added, “Mr. Cherry approached, he took his right hand, and he hit me upside the head. I was stunned I couldn’t believe he just hit me.” Sheridan then recreated her reaction. “You just hit me in the head,” she said very loudly in the courtroom, while tearing up. “This is not okay, that is not okay.”



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