A jury should decide whether Nicollette Sheridan’s character was unfairly written out of the hit show Desperate Housewives, a US judge has ruled.
With the actress looking on, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White tossed a couple of Nicollette’s claims out, but said there was enough of a dispute about what led to her axe for the case to go to trial next month.
The star sued ABC and Housewives creator and executive producer Marc Cherry in April 2010.
Adam Levin, an attorney for the network and Marc, argued that the decision to kill off Nicollette’s character, Edie Britt, was made months before her argument with the show executive.
He said the decision was made by Marc and a small group in May 2008 and kept from others on the show to avoid ruining the surprise.
Nicollette’s attorney, Mark Baute, disagreed and said the network’s justification that it was a cost-cutting move didn’t make sense since her character was killed off in a car accident in the middle of the season and she was still owed hundreds of thousands of dollars on her contract.
After listening to several minutes of arguments about disputed facts in the case, the judge said: “It’s clear to the court that this is something that needs to go to a jury.”
Her ruling threw out sexual harassment and assault claims, but Nicollette’s attorneys will be able to seek damages on wrongful termination, battery and unlawful retaliation claims and can still seek punitive damages.
The trial is scheduled to begin on June 8.