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The long-running legal dispute over Nicollette Sheridan’s exit from Desperate Housewives has been tossed out by a California judge.
At the center of the lawsuit is a 2008 incident between the actress and the show’s creator, Marc Cherry. She claims he hit her in the head during an argument on set and he later apologized. According to court documents, her lawyer notified Touchstone Television of the incident but didn’t request that any action be taken against Cherry.
Sheridan claims Cherry killed off her fictional character on the show in retaliation for her complaints about the altercation. She first filed suit against Cherry, ABC, Disney and Touchstone in 2010, which eventually ended in a mistrial.
She later filed this lawsuit claiming Touchstone violated Labor Code Section 6310, which allows an employee to seek damages if he or she is terminated, threatened or discriminated against for complaining about unsafe working conditions.
Touchstone argued that Sheridan couldn’t prove she made a formal complaint about the working conditions or that the company didn’t exercise its option to extend her contract because of any such complaint. The company also says the decision was made to kill off Sheridan’s character months before the run-in with Cherry.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Holly Kendig agreed with Touchstone, finding Sheridan failed to raise a triable issue of fact and granting the company’s motion for summary judgment.
“In the end, Sheridan provides no evidence that she communicated to Touchstone that she feared for her safety on the set or that she requested any specific safety or security measures that she wanted Touchstone to implement,” writes Kendig. “Further, there is no substantial evidence that Sheridan reasonably believed her working conditions were unsafe.”
Kendig also found the evidence did not establish that the incident between Sheridan and Cherry rendered the Desperate Housewives set an unsafe workplace. The full ruling is below.
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