Nicollette Sheridan's $5.7 million lawsuit against ABC, Touchtone TV and Marc Cherry ended yesterday with a hung jury. The jury was deadlocked at 8-4 one vote short of giving Sheridan her victory.
The case against the soap opera seemed totally like a soap opera. Nicollette Sheridan said she was hit by Marc Cherry (the creator of Desperate Housewives) and when the incident was reported to HR, 4 months later her character was killed off the show. Cherry says he just tapped her to show her how to play out a scene. She clearly felt that he was inappropriate and unacceptable so much so that she went and reported it and then suffered the consequences.
Cherry said that the decision to kill her character was made in advance of the incident and there was no retaliation for her reporting his poor behavior.
And she has had signficant consequences. She's now a whistleblower and has had difficulties getting a new job. That's what happens when you blow the whistle on someone with power that's making a lot of money for the network. It's interesting that the case came before the court this year when Desperate Housewives is ending. In my book it should have ended long ago.
Are there any lessons to be learned from this trial? Would this encourage others to sue? Will the close victory and the damning quotes from the jurors about the ABC execs (basically calling them liars and that their stories were to rehearsed) cause ABC to settle?
The whole thing is just a mess.