ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Breaking Contracts News From Wisteria Lane


This blog has been subjected to searing criticism from certain quarters and has been dubbed "The People Magazine of Law Blogs."  Ouch.  Undeterred, we continue to bring our readers the good stuff.  If you want high-minded, wonky policy-oriented analysis, I suggest you try this blog -- and after you wake up drooling into your keyboard, you can move on to this one.  It won't be long before you come back to your famliar bookmark for the latest about Paris, Lady Gaga, Charlie Sheen and the remainder of our royal family. 

So, as we were saying.  Last year, Nicollette Sheridan sued Marc Cherry and various entities associated with the hit television series "Desparate Housewives."  Her first amended complaint can be found here.  As the New York Times reported today, some of the juicy allegations, including assault and battery and gender violence have been dropped, but the case is now set to proceed to trial on the juiciest allegations of all: wrongful and retaliatory termination.  Ahhh, that's the stuff!

Those who tend to confuse "Desperate Housewives" (DH) with the various "Real Housewives" reality television series might be confused by a lawsuit brought by a woman whose character, Edie Britt, was killed in a car crash during the show's fifth season, but Sheridan alleges that Cherry and the other people and entities behind the scenes at DH plotted to have her character -- not her, because she is desparate, not real -- killed off in breach of contract. 

The complaint alleges that Sheridan was guaranteed compensation on a per-episode basis through the show's seventh season.  However, Sheridan alleges that Cherry created a hostile work environment -- especially for her -- and that Cherry's hostility towards her culminated in September 2008 when he hit her with his hand across her head and face. She reported this conduct to ABC executives who concluded that Cherry "simply gave her a light tap on the side of her head for the sole purpose of privding direction for a scene they were rehearsing."  In February 2009, Sheridan was informed that her character was to be killed off.  She believes that this was a retaliatory act.   The judge found sufficient questions of fact on that issue to send the case to trial.

She alleges damages of $20 million.


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