Nicollette Sheridan's 'Desperate Housewives' case: Judge declares mistrial
A Los Angeles judge has declared a mistrial in the case involving Nicollette Sheridan's departure from "Desperate Housewives," in which she had claimed she was wrongfully terminated, after the jury announced it was deadlocked and was unable to reach a verdict.
The trial began at the end of February and closing arguments were made on Wednesday, March 14. Sheridan had claimed that her character was killed off in retaliation for complaining about a confrontation with creator Marc Cherry. She had demanded $6 million in damages for alleged battery and wrongful termination.
The jury is made up of 12 people. Its foreperson told the judge on Friday that he believes jury is hopelessly deadlocked. The judge declared the case a mistrial on Monday, March 19, after the jurors discussed the case for a total of 10 and a half hours.
Eight jurors had planned to vote in favor of Sheridan and four had sided with Touchstone Television, which produces "Desperate Housewives," OnTheRedCarpet.com has learned. Nine jurors were needed to reach a verdict.
Sheridan must now have to begin a new trial with different jurors if she chooses to take the matter to court again.
Last week, ABC attorney Adam Levin was asked by reporters later if the parties had reached a settlement, following media speculation.
"Absolutely not," he said.
On Tuesday, a judge dismissed a battery complaint she had made against Cherry, which had served as a key part of the case.
The actress 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 was then aimed solely against Touchstone Television.
Sheridan's attorney has said the actress was fired 60 days after her complaint, which he called the "essence of retaliation."
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 says her fate was sealed in May, months before the incident.
Sheridan 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.