In spite of efforts by attorneys representing "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry and Touchstone Studios, their never-ending legal defense against actress Nicollette Sheridan will continue in a court of law. Earlier today, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Stern ruled against Touchstone and decided that the parties will, indeed, meet again. Except this time, even if she wins, Sheridan can't get the $20 million she wanted way back when.
Shucks, right? Well, not exactly. She's eligible for loss of wages and benefits. And her wages are hardly minimum.
It was just three years ago when fans were rocked by Sheridan's allegations that life behind the scenes on Wisteria Lane was wackier than onscreen shenanigans. Sheridan accused Cherry of being, pretty much, the worst boss ever. She said he slapped her (ouch) and then fired her in retaliation. He said the slap was a "tap" and that he was only trying to work on a scene with her. He also said he had been planning to eliminate Sheridan's character, Edie Britt -- who was not exactly a girl's girl -- for a long time, long before the "incident."
After a much-ballyhooed trial that featured other "Housewives" actresses testifying for their creator, the jury deadlocked, 8-4 in favor of Sheridan. Judge Elizabeth Allen White declared a mistrial and was later dismissed after an appellate panel decided that she mishandled proceedings. Judge Michael Stern has since taken over the litigations.
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And that's quite an undertaking in this war with two fronts. The first: Sheridan's lawyers argued that Cherry was a bad boss from day one. In court papers, Sheridan's attorney said he "created a hostile work environment for the cast, crew, and writers who work for the show, and Sheridan in particular.'' Touchstone defense attorneys have maintained that one "tap" does not a pattern of abuse make. They argued that there is no evidence for a hostile environment.
On a less tantalizing but equally important technical note, Touchstone attorneys alleged that Sheridan didn't follow protocol. She lodged a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. In court papers, Touchstone attorneys said the DFEH "has no authority to investigate and resolve complaints relating to workplace safety." They argued that she should have filed a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. They also argued that she had no right to seek punitive damages and attorneys' fees in the first place because of the Labor Code rules.
It wasn't a total loss for Touchstone: Judge Stern ruled that Sheridan is not entitled to attorneys' fees and that her production company, Starlike Enterprises, will have to sit this one out. We're sure that's just fine because it's busy with many, many projects.