Mistrial Declared by LA Judge for 'Desperate Housewives' Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

March 23, 2012

This week, actress Nicollette Sheridan's 'Desperate Housewives' wrongful termination lawsuit came to an unresolved close, after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White declared a mistrial in the highly publicized trial, after the jury deadlocked in an 8-4 decision in favor of Sheridan's claim. A vote of at least 9-3 was needed in order to reach a verdict.

Howard Law's labor and employment attorney Vincent Howard has been reporting on this Los Angeles, California employment trial over the past two weeks--that accused Marc Cherry, the creator and executive producer of 'Desperate Housewives,' of wrongful termination and retaliation for allegedly killing Nicollette Sheridan's television character after the actress complained about being struck by him while rehearsing a scene. Sheridan originally accused Cherry of battery, but the charge was thrown out by the judge last week.

As Vincent Howard reported in a previous Santa Ana employment attorneys blog, after Wednesday's closing arguments, the case went to the jury of nine women and three men for a decision. The jury first reported deliberation problems on Thursday, and reportedly resumed discussions on Monday of this week. The jury later reported that they didn't believe that the deadlocked verdict could be changed with additional lawyer arguments or time spent in the courtroom.

Eight of the jurors sided with Sheridan's claims that her character was written off the sensational television show out of retaliation, after Sheridan complained about the alleged incident. The remaining three jurors sided with Touchstone Television Productions, who claimed the Cherry had arranged for her character to be killed off the show months before the incident occurred.

After four days of deliberation, the trial ended with a hung jury, at which point Judge Allen White excused the panel after it became deadlocked in decision. One of the jurors who sided with Sheridan's account, claimed that the case was primarily about credibility, and while Sheridan was believable, many accounts from the defense's witnesses were not.

In the wrongful termination trial, Cherry's lawyers claimed that Sheridan's character was killed off due to the need to cut the show's costs, and because the options for interesting storytelling had come to a close for the character. Sheridan's lawyers claimed that it didn't make sense the Sheridan's contract was renewed weeks after the alleged decision was made to kill off her character.

Sheridan earned $4 million per year for playing the character Edie on 'Desperate Housewives' and has reportedly sought at least $5.7 million for monetary losses and potentially more in punitive damages. The attorneys for both sides will now prepare for a retrial, as an out-of-court settlement is not reportedly expected.

In Cypress, Dana Point, and Garden Grove, California and other Orange County cities, contact Vincent Howard at Howard Law, PC today, to discuss your labor and employment rights.

Mistrial declared in 'Housewives' firing case, Businessweek, March 20, 2012

Judge declares mistrial in 'Desperate Housewives' lawsuit, CNN, March 20, 2012

Jurors speak out after 'Desperate Housewives' trial, Los Angeles Times, March 20, 2012

Related Web Resources:

California Department of Industrial Relations, (DIR)

Related Blog Posts:

LA Judge hears from Mystery Witness, Throws out Battery Claim in "Desperate Housewives" Wrongful Termination Lawsuit, California Employment Lawyers Blog, March 13, 2012

"Desperate Housewives" Wrongful Termination, Retaliation Lawsuit Goes to Trial, California Employment Lawyers Blog, March 3, 2012

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