Nicollette Sheridan's wrongful termination lawsuit against Touchstone over her dismissal from "Desperate Housewives" was dealt a critical blow yesterday when an appeals court issued a ruling scrapping a September retrial.
The ruling, according to The Hollywood Reporter, also overturns the trials judge's denial of Touchstone's motion for directed verdict -- meaning the appeals court believes Touchstone should have won the trial in the first place.
The appeals court went on to say, "It is further ordered that the retrial currently set for Sept. 10 is hereby stayed pending further order of the court."
Sheridan's lawsuit isn't completely dead ... but it is on its last legs.
Dead at 72
6/2/2012 12:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Kathryn Joosten, perhaps best known for her role as Karen McKluskey on "Desperate Housewives," died Friday after a long bout with lung cancer. She was 72.
Joosten won Emmys in 2005 and 2008 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on "Housewives." She was nominated for a third time in 2010.
Joosten also played Mrs. Landingham for two seasons on the show "The West Wing."
She was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001 and it returned in September 2009.
A rep for the actress says she was surrounded by family when she passed.
Gets Retrial in 'Housewives'
Wrongful Termination Case
4/18/2012 10:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Nicollette Sheridan will get another chance to prove she was wrongfully terminated from "Desperate Housewives" -- because a judge has decided to allow a retrial after the previous one ended with a hung jury.
ABC/Disney had asked the judge to dismiss the case based on the evidence that surfaced during trial earlier this year ... but the judge just shot them down.
The judge has set the retrial for September 10 -- but the judge strongly urged both Disney and Nicollette to settle the case. And based on what we know, this case will never be re-tried, because the jury vote in the first trial was 8 - 4 in favor of the actress -- she was one vote shy of getting a verdict ... and Disney is not going to play with that fire a second time around.
I Was Molested as a Child
4/17/2012 10:35 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Vanessa Williams says she was sexually abused as a 10-year-old girl ... and believes the traumatizing experience caused her to become "highly sexualized" at an abnormally young age.
Williams dropped the bombshell in her new book, "You Have No Idea" ... explaining how an 18-year-old woman molested her during a family trip with friends.
The "Desperate Housewives" actress opened up about the experience to "Nightline" ... saying, "It happened one night where she told me, 'come over here,' I didn't know that it was wrong, but I knew that it wasn't right because I wasn't supposed to tell anybody."
"I think I was highly sexualized because I was in fifth grade and I had this experience. Because it feels good, you're like, OK, well this is supposed to be normal. That's not normal for a 10-year-old to be seduced."
In her book, Williams also reveals she had an abortion during her high school years ... but kept it a secret from everyone, including her mother, because she was scared.
Williams went on to become the first black Miss America in 1984 ... but was shamed into giving up her crown after several nude pictures appeared in Penthouse. Williams says she stupidly trusted the photographer when he promised to keep them private.
Now the actress is focused on moving forward saying, "I've learned to embrace my past. I embrace the choices that I have been given in my life."
From Big Lawsuits
to Itty Bitty Swimsuits
4/16/2012 1:45 PM PDT BY Johnny Lopez
Hung Jury In 'Housewives' Trial
3/19/2012 12:18 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The judge has declared a mistrial in the Nicollette Sheridan vs. "Desperate Housewives" wrongful termination trial ... which means nobody wins ... and nobody loses ... but it looks like the stage is set for a retrial.
Nicollette's lawyer just walked out of the courtroom and told reporters he plans to re-try the case. The other option is to hammer out a settlement ... but they were unable to do that when they tried last Friday.
Plus, Sheridan's lawyer says the jury had voted 8 to 4 in favor of Nicollette ... just one vote shy of a verdict ... and he's obviously confident he'll get the win next time around.
As for bitterness, it's front and center ... Nicollette's lawyer called Disney the "Unhappiest place on Earth."
A lawyer for Disney spoke after today's hearing as well, sounding quite triumphant. Two of the jurors, both of whom sided with Nicollette, spoke about the case and some of things that went into their decision.
As we previously reported, Nicollette sued ABC for wrongful termination -- claiming creator Marc Cherry slapped her on set ... and when she complained, the network fired her.
The judge dismissed the battery accusation against Marc last Tuesday -- leaving only the wrongful termination claim against the network ... and today, the jury told court they could not reach a verdict.
Off the Hook
In 'Housewives' Lawsuit
3/13/2012 12:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
A crushing blow to Nicollette Sheridan's wrongful termination suit -- the judge just threw out the actress' battery claim against "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry ... meaning Cherry is no longer a defendant.
It was the crux of her wrongful termination action -- Nicollette claimed Marc struck her in the face during a rehearsal in 2008 ... then ABC fired her when she complained.
Marc admitted to touching her face -- in the context of demonstrating how he wanted a particular scene to play out -- but when she took the stand, Nicollette called it an unprovoked "wallop."
The judge found Sheridan's claims did not meet the standard of proof for battery -- and since the battery claim was the only cause of action against Cherry ... he's officially in the clear.
Nicollette's wrongful termination claim against ABC will still move forward -- but the judge's decision does not bode well.
Nicollette Sheridan Trial
New Witness May Be
3/12/2012 10:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
A new witness has surfaced in the Nicollette Sheridan trial who could raise the specter of a cover-up.
Nicollette's lawyers told the judge today ... they have a witness -- a low-level employee on the set of "Desperate Housewives" -- who said he was mistakenly added to an ABC email which said it was using the network's IT department to wipe everyone's hard drives of all communications relating to the demise of Nicollette's character on the show.
ABC lawyers were stunned, saying they had no knowledge of such a witness or an email.
Nicollette's lawyers told the judge ... the email indicates there was "definitely a conspiracy to cover up correspondence."
You'll recall, Marc Cherry has said he was noodling on the idea of killing off Nicollette's character months before he laid a hand on her.
It's unclear if the judge will let the new witness testify in front of the jury.
No Hard Feelings
Against Nicollette ... Really??
3/8/2012 2:05 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry just fed the jury a spoonful of crap in his court battle with Nicollette Sheridan ... swearing he WASN'T ANGRY with Nicollette when she accused him of striking her.
Pants. On. Fire.
As we previously reported, Cherry insists Nicollette straight up lied when she claimed he battered her when she questioned a script change back in 2008. Cherry claims he merely tapped her on the head while trying to explain a physical stunt for a scene.
Nicollette claims Cherry then killed her off the show because she complained.
Today, Cherry took the stand in L.A. County Superior Court and said ... not only did he NOT write her off in retaliation ... but he says he wasn't even a tiny bit upset when he found out she complained.
So, if YOU had just been accused of a crime you swear you didn't commit ... you wouldn't be a smidge perturbed? We thought so.
Still, we gotta ask ...
Marc Cherry Didn't Plan to Kill
3/7/2012 5:20 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Marc Cherry did not plan to kill off Nicollette Sheridan's character on "Desperate Housewives" until after he allegedly hit her ... at least as far as one writer could tell back when she worked on the show.
Lori Kirkland Baker testified today ... she knew absolutely NOTHING, zilch, nada ... about the death of Sheridan’s character Edie until Dec. 2008 ... 7 months AFTER Marc Cherry claims he made the decision.
Adding fuel to the fire ... Baker said Marc Cherry only brought up killing Edie AFTER he sparred with Sheridan on set -- though she admits she was not present for ALL plot discussions.
Baker was employed by the ABC show for its 4th and 5th seasons. Her contract was not renewed.
Targeted for Death
3/7/2012 1:25 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Nicollette Sheridan's character on "Desperate Housewives" was set to die, long before Marc Cherry struck her ... and the code name for her demise was OJ.
Marc Cherry testified today in the trial -- where Nicollette is suing Cherry and ABC for wrongful termination -- that the writers were playing with scenarios for killing her off months before the now-famous blowup. Cherry produced writers notes, which included the phrase, "Steven drinks OJ."
Cherry claims the phrase was a reference to Sheridan's on-screen hubby killing her character ... and Cherry also told jurors OJ was a reference to OJ Simpson, who famously killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
Yeah, I Struck Nicollette,
3/5/2012 6:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry is asking the judge in the Nicollette Sheridan case to let his lawyers impeach the fired actress on grounds she has been inconsistent in her story that Marc violently hit her across the head during an argument.
Cherry admitted on the stand today his fingers came into contact with Nicollette's head but he denied violently hitting her.
According to new documents obtained by TMZ ... Cherry's lawyers want the jury to hear that Nicollette has changed her account ... originally alleging a slap and then escalating the allegation to a "violent hit." And during her testimony Nicollette changed her description yet again to a "nice wallop."
Cherry and his lawyers believe the inconsistencies prove Nicollette's battery claim is groundless.
As for what Cherry says he did ... in his testimony today he claims he was just demonstrating how a scene should unfold when his fingers made contact with Nicollette's head.
Sheridan vs. Cherry
All 'Housewives' Are Witnesses
2/28/2012 11:35 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Marc Cherry is not Nicollette Sheridan's only adversary in her trial -- her former co-stars are poised to destroy her case, because they're all set to testify for the defense.
TMZ has obtained the witness list in Nicollette's trial. Among those who will be called on behalf of Cherry -- Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, James Denton, Marcia Cross and Neal McDonough.
The women on the show will all testify -- they never saw Marc strike Nicollette, as she alleges, nor did they witness any retaliation after she complained to ABC honchos.
According to the witness list, Nicollette wants to grill Marc for 8 hours.
Eva, Felicity, James, Marcia and Neal will all be in and out in 30 minutes or less, although cross-examination could prolong things.