'Desperate Housewives' trial: Jury hears closing arguments about Nicollette Sheridan's case
Nicollette Sheridan's wrongful termination case regarding the death of her "Desperate Housewives" character, Edie Britt, was given to a Los Angeles jury following closing arguments on Wednesday March 14.
The jurors, whose decision does not have be unanimous, are set to return to court on Thursday morning. On Tuesday, the judge dismissed a battery complaint she had made about show creator Marc Cherry. She claimed he struck her on the set and he said that while he never asked permission to touch her, he gave her a "tap" on the side of her head as a demonstration, while trying to explain a scene. Her case now aimed solely against Touchstone Television, also known as ABC Television Studios.
"Intelligence is in short supply these days. It is especially in short supply at Touchstone, Sheridan's attorney Mark Baute told the jury on Wednesday.
He accused witnesses who testified for the company, which included show executives and writers, of hiding facts and maintained that the decision to kill off Sheridan's character was made in December 2008, months after she complained about the confrontation with Cherry on Sept. 24, 2008. The show's attorney's say her fate was sealed in May, months before the incident.
Baute said Sheridan was fired 60 days after her complaint, which he called the "essence of retaliation."
Adam Levin, the lead attorney for Cherry and ABC, said during his closing argument that Sheridan and her lawyer were making use of "desperate" theories, addding: "Desperate is claiming that 10 good citizens of California conspired to get their story straight," according to the Associated Press.
The 12 jurors, most of whom are women, must decide if show executives axed her from "Desperate Housewives" in retaliation for making the accusations about Cherry.
They must determine if Sheridan did substantial work for Touchstone Television, if the company declined to renew her contract just because she complained about unsafe working conditions, whether or not the firm acted fairly and if the actress was harmed by its conduct.
Sheridan is suing for about $6 million. She would have made $200,000 per episode had she starred in all 23 of the sixth season, her last. The show is now on its eighth and final season.
She is also suing for loss of interest, which her lawyer calculated to be at 10 percent, and loss of residuals of $155,000 that she could have earned from first airings and reruns. The total amount of these damages comes up to $5,762,397. Punitive damages have not been calculated.
Baute also questioned the lack of documentation regarding the decision to write Sheridan off the show, saying: "The reason there are no docs is not that there were kept secret. The reason is that there was no decision."
"You have the power to make it right," he told the jury.