'Desperate Housewives' actress suffers court setback

Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:37am EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles judge on Tuesday dismissed former "Desperate Housewives" cast member Nicollette Sheridan's battery complaint against the hit TV show's creator, Marc Cherry, dealing the actress a setback in her wrongful termination suit.

The decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White came as the nearly two week trial approached closing arguments before a jury.

The case brought by Sheridan, an actress in the hit ABC comedy "Desperate Housewives" from 2004 to 2009, is unique in shedding public light on the kind of behind-the-scenes Hollywood disputes that often are resolved in private.

Sheridan accused Cherry of smacking her on the head during a 2008 rehearsal, and she contends she was fired and her character killed off after she complained about the contact.

Cherry has said he only tapped Sheridan to instruct her about a scene and that the death of her character, sexy Edie Britt who had slept with most men in the neighborhood, was planned long before the incident.

Judge White sided with Cherry in dismissing Sheridan's battery complaint but let stand the wrongful termination suit against Touchstone Television Productions, the studio behind "Desperate Housewives" and ABC. Both are units of The Walt Disney Co.

"I'm sure that she and her attorneys are very unhappy today. This is a big setback for them," said attorney Lisa Bloom, whose past clients include Lindsay Lohan's father. She is not involved with the trial but has been monitoring it.

Bloom said jurors are likely to be "sophisticated enough" to understand the judge has thrown out part of Sheridan's case. "That could really be a problem for her," Bloom added.   Continued...

Actresses Eva Longoria Parker (L) and Nicollette Sheridan, stars of the ABC series "Desperate Housewives", take part in a panel discussion at the Disney ABC Television Group summer media tour in Beverly Hills, California July 17, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser