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Nicollette Sheridan Desperate Housewives Lawsuit Ends in a Hung Jury

by Melissa Silverstein
March 20, 2012 11:45 AM
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Nicollette Sheridan

Nicollette Sheridan's $5.7 million lawsuit against ABC, Touchtone TV and Marc Cherry ended yesterday with a hung jury.  The jury was deadlocked at 8-4 one vote short of giving Sheridan her victory.

The case against the soap opera seemed totally like a soap opera.  Nicollette Sheridan said she was hit by Marc Cherry (the creator of Desperate Housewives) and when the incident was reported to HR, 4 months later her character was killed off the show.  Cherry says he just tapped her to show her how to play out a scene.  She clearly felt that he was inappropriate and unacceptable so much so that she went and reported it and then suffered the consequences.

Cherry said that the decision to kill her character was made in advance of the incident and there was no retaliation for her reporting his poor behavior. 

And she has had signficant consequences.  She's now a whistleblower and has had difficulties getting a new job.  That's what happens when you blow the whistle on someone with power that's making a lot of money for the network.  It's interesting that the case came before the court this year when Desperate Housewives is ending.  In my book it should have ended long ago. 

Are there any lessons to be learned from this trial?  Would this encourage others to sue?  Will the close victory and the damning quotes from the jurors about the ABC execs (basically calling them liars and that their stories were to rehearsed) cause ABC to settle?

The whole thing is just a mess.

Judge declares mistrial in 'Desperate Housewives' lawsuit (CNN)

Hung jury in Nicollette Sheridan's 'Desperate Housewives' case (LA Times)

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  • Renee | March 20, 2012 5:24 PMReply

    I commend Nicollette Sheridan for standing up for herself. If it's truly wrongful termination
    she has a solid case. She can have a new trial heard and I bet the second one will be the

  • Debbie Zipp | March 20, 2012 4:18 PMReply

    It does seem that when you stand up for yourself against big successful entities like a network or a corporation you set yourself up as a target and/or you and your claims are dismissed and not taken seriously. Many years ago my life was put at risk in a work environment, not once but twice. It was terrifying and humiliating and I felt that my life did not matter to those in charge. I lodged a serious complaint. But the company in charge only received a letter of reprimand. However, I feel I did the right thing in drawing a line and standing up for myself. Nicolette Sheridan should be proud and we should support her in standing up.

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