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Nicollette Sheridan arrives at a Los Angeles court for her Desperate Housewives wrongful termination case on March 5, 2012. - Provided courtesy of OTRC

Nicollette Sheridan's 'Desperate Housewives' retrial called off

06/02/2012 by Olivia Allin

Nicollette Sheridan's retrial to decide her "Desperate Housewives" wrongful termination lawsuit called off by appeals court.

The court of appeals ruled that the lawsuit should have been resolved in favor of Touchstone and canceled the September retrial, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

In May, a judge declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked over whether the actress was owed $4 million after being fired from the ABC show "Desperate Housewives."

Touchstone/ABC then appealed the case, in an attempt to prevent the retrial, using the argument that California law "precludes wrongful termination lawsuits when an actress' contract option is simply not exercised."

It was a surprise when the California Court of Appeals issued an order agreeing with Touchstone. The appeals court set up a court date on August 9 for the trial's judge to justify why the case should move forward.

The judge previously denied ABC's motion to dismiss the sole remaining count of wrongful termination and scheduled a conference hearing for the case on September 5. The retrial was previously scheduled to begin on September 10, 2012.

Sheridan's attorney Mark Baute accused ABC's attorney Adam Levin of playing the case in the media and requested the judge to sanction him in $35,000. The judge denied the sanctions.

The judge urged both sides to seriously try to reach a settlement before the retrial, keeping in mind that a vast majority of the jury members sided with Sheridan.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Baute told reporters at the time that ABC/Disney will never settle and he doesn't imagine that will change before the retrial.

Sheridan's attorneys said that they wanted to bring additional witnesses to the stand for the new trial. The same judge was set to preside, but a new jury would have been picked.

On April 16, eight out of 12 jurors voted in favor of the actress in the original trial, but nine were needed to reach a verdict. The Los Angeles jury discussed the case for 10 and a half hours but its foreperson declared it was deadlocked. The judge declared a mistrial.

Sheridan had claimed that her character, Edie Britt, was killed off in retaliation for complaining about a confrontation with show creator Marc Cherry. She had demanded $6 million in damages for alleged battery and wrongful termination. The judge had dismissed her battery complaint, which had served as a key part of the case.

The actress, who appeared on the show from its 2004 debut to 2009, had claimed Cherry struck her on the set on Sept. 24, 2008. He had 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.

Sheridan's attorney has said the actress was fired 60 days after her complaint and that the decision to kill off her character was made in December 2008, after she complained about the confrontation with Cherry. The show's attorney says her fate was sealed in May, 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 recently wrapped its eighth and final season in May.

UPDATE: Sheridan's lawyer said that despite the appeals court's indefinite stay, he planned to keep the retrial on track.

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