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LA Judge hears from Mystery Witness, Throws out Battery Claim in “Desperate Housewives” Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

March 13, 2012

The Los Angeles, California "Desperate Housewives" trial continues to get high ratings in the public eye, as new court developments that Howard Law's Vincent Howard has been following have added new twists in the proceedings. New information was reportedly introduced yesterday and today that accuses ABC of trying to cover up their plans to fire Nicollette Sheridan.

As Vincent Howard reported in last week's Riverside employment lawyers blog, actress Nicollette Sheridan filed a wrongful termination, battery and retaliation lawsuit last year against Marc Cherry, the executive producer and creator of "Desperate Housewives"--for killing off her character that she played for five seasons, after she complained about being allegedly hit by Cherry during a rehearsal. Cherry claims that he tapped Sheridan on the head while giving her direction for the scene they were taping, but Sheridan claims that Cherry hit her hard on the head, leaving her humiliated and shocked.

As the trial has progressed over the past two weeks, numerous witnesses have reportedly testified that the creative decision to kill Sheridan's character, Edie Britt was made in May of 2008, four months before her incident with Cherry on the set of the show. Cherry claimed that he told two actresses on the show, Felicity Huffman and Eva Longoria, about the decision to kill Sheridan's character two months before informing Sheridan, and many of the show's writers testified that they began discussing Edie's death in the summer of 2008. Two of the writers, however, claimed that Cherry made the final decision to kill Sheridan's character after the incident. Sheridan felt that having her character killed off in an episode only a few months after the incident constituted an act of retaliation.

To prove that the death of Sheridan's character was nothing out of the ordinary, the studio reportedly put together a television show montage of all of the 48 deaths that had occurred on "Desperate Housewives," not including the death of a major character on Sunday night--which was shockingly revealed by a producer during a testimony last week.

Yesterday, Sheridan's lawyers introduced a new potential witness who reportedly indicated that ABC show officials tried to cover up key email correspondence that was related to the actress. Judge Elizabeth Allen White ordered the man, who was identified as Michael Reinhart, to appear in court this morning to testify in front of the jury.

Reinhart, a construction coordinator for the show, left a voicemail message for Sheridan's attorney on Sunday, stating that he was accidentally copied on an email that suggested that any emails related the firing of Nicollette Sheridan be purged from the hard drives of the producers. The message was played in court on Monday, which stated that there was a conspiracy to cover up the correspondence in regards to Nicollette.

In another twist, Judge Elizabeth Allen White threw out Sheridan's claim of battery against Cherry today, stating that the actress can only claim punitive damages for Cherry's alleged retaliation. The judge reportedly stated that Sheridan's claims did not meet the standard proof for battery. Closing arguments are expected to start afternoon and run into Wednesday, before the case goes to the jury. If Sheridan wins the rest of her wrongful termination and retaliation case, she could be entitled to around $5.7 million.

In cities throughout Southern California, contact Orange County labor and employment attorney Vincent Howard at Howard Law, PC today.

'Desperate Housewives' Trial: Judge Dismisses Battery Claim; Marc Cherry No Longer a Defendant, The Hollywood Reporter, March 13, 2012

Judge wants to talk to mystery witness in 'Desperate Housewives' case; claims may aid actress, The Washington Post, March 12, 2012

'Desperate Housewives' trial: Nicollette Sheridan's lawyers introduce voicemail from mystery witness, New York Daily News, March 12, 2012

Sheridan-Cherry Trial Reveals Ugliest Truth of 'Desperate Housewives', The Daily Beast, March 12, 2012

'Desperate Housewives' trial has its own dark humor, The Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2012

Judge to rule on 11th-hour 'Desperate Housewives' witness, The Chicago Tribune, March 13, 2012

Related Web Resources:

California Department of Industrial Relations, (DIR)

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