Sheridan war vs 'Housewives' maker gets shafted again
Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan's ongoing legal war against the show's creator, writer and producer Marc Cherry for wrongful termination has hit another snag, as a judge vacated the September retrial date and told both sides to enter settlement talks with a different judge.
Judge Elizabeth Allen White of the Los Angeles Superior Court admitted to being confused by wording in a writ issued by the court of appeals that put a temporary stay on the retrial. "Frankly, I find the language puzzling," she said, and ordered all attorneys to return to talks with Judge Helen Bendix on 20th July.
The writ prevented Nicollette's lawyer Mark Baute from going ahead with the wrongful termination claim, but allowed him to amend its complaint and make claim under California Labour Code 6310 (b), which protects employees from being terminated if they make a complaint about workplace safety.
During the hearing, Baute continued to try to make the case for a wrongful termination claim. "To keep this simple, Ms Sheridan was fired before her contract was up," he told the court.
"Mr Baute has argued this nine times," countered Adam Levin, attorney for Touchstone, adding, "The plaintiff is frankly ordering nonsense. The plaintiff is asking the court to violate the court of appeal."
Judge White concluded, "I'm going to let the court of appeal sort it out. I will do whatever the court of appeal asks me to do."
Nicollette originally sued Touchstone and ABC for US$20 million for being improperly fired after she said Cherry slapped her in a dispute. He countered that he was merely attempting to give her stage direction and that the decision to kill off her character, bad girl Edie Britt, was made months before the incident.
In March the case ended in mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict. A retrial had been set for 10th September before the judge vacated the date. On 31st May, an appeals court issued the temporary stay, affirming an appeal by ABC lawyers who argued that Nicollette didn't have the right to sue for wrongful termination.
Baute told TheWrap that he would focus on preserving the wrongful termination claim, despite the appeals court's writ.
"The trial court recognises, as did the court of appeal, that the Section 6310 (b) claim must go forward and the complaint amended to include that claim," he said after the hearing. "The trial court wishes to have the court of appeal resolve through the writ process whether the wrongful termination in violation of public policy will also go forward."
Frankly, we think Edie was best thing on Desperate Housewives, and since the show went downhill after season two, Nicollette was better off without it.
Source: Reuters/The Wrap
Published: 29th June 2012