12:16pm PT by Matthew Belloni
California Supreme Court Denies Nicollette Sheridan 'Housewives' Appeal
The California Supreme Court has denied an appeal by actress Nicollette Sheridan of her case against ABC and Touchstone Television over her firing from Desperate Housewives.
The state's highest court issued the brief ruling Friday. "The petition for review is denied," the court's chief justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote. "The request for an order requesting depublication of the opinion is denied."
The move is the latest development in a two-and-a-half year legal saga stemming from a Sheridan's exit from the hit ABC dramedy. The actress first sued producers ABC Studios, Touchstone and Housewives creator Marc Cherry for $20 million in April 2010, claiming she was fired in retaliation for complaining about being hit in the head by Cherry during an argument on the set. Cherry later was dismissed from the Los Angeles Superior Court suit, and a jury earlier this year failed to reach a verdict in a high-profile trial against ABC/Touchstone.
But before a second trial date could be set, a court of appeal ruled in August that trial judge Elizabeth Allen White should have issued a directed verdict for ABC/Touchstone because Sheridan wasn't fired, her contract simply was not renewed between seasons 5 and 6 of the show. Instead, Sheridan should have been directed to refile her case under California's Labor Code.
Sheridan asked for a rehearing of her claims and was denied. She then appealed to the state Supreme Court, which now has denied her.
The case likely will next be referred back to the court of appeal, which will direct the trial court to allow Sheridan to proceed with a claim that her exit from the show violates the state's labor code. She could eventually get a new trial on these issues but ABC/Touchstone likely will try to get the case dismissed on procedural grounds.
ABC lawyer Adam Levin declined to comment on the latest ruling. We've reached out to Sheridan's attorney Mark Baute for comment.