Nicollette Sheridan claims 'Desperate Housewives' creator assaulted, fired her

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Nicollette Sheridan claims 'Desperate Housewives' creator assaulted, fired her

Mon Apr 05, 2010 @ 05:57PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Sheridan,nicolette Former "Desperate Housewives" co-star Nicollette Sheridan has filed a lawsuit so over-the-top it seems perfect for Wisteria Lane.

The actress has sued ABC Entertainment Group, ABC Studios, Touchstone Television and series creator Marc Cherry for $20 million, claiming that she was physically assaulted by Cherry and fired when she complained about it.

Click here to read the full lawsuit.

The complaint was filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court by attorneys Mark Baute and Patrick Maloney.

Sheridan alleges Cherry struck her in the head in September 2008 on the set of the hit ABC series. "After she complained to her employer about Cherry's improper behavior, Cherry arranged to have Sheridan terminated from the show, resulting in her losing millions in future earnings," the complaint says.

ABC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (UPDATE: ABC Studios just gave us the following statement: “While we have yet to see the actual complaint, we investigated similar claims made by Ms. Sheridan last year and found them to be without merit.”) Cherry could not be reached.

Sheridan says Cherry punched her in the head during production on the series' fifth season. He allegedly apologized but then arranged for her character, Edie Britt, to be killed off the show. Sheridan claims that she informed ABC about the whole mess, but producers did nothing.

The seven-count complaint alleges causes of action for wrongful termination; assault and battery; gender violence; discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and age; retaliatory termination; breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Some other allegations from the complaint:

  • Sheridan says the assault went down like this: "On September 24, 2008, during a rehearsal for the show, when Sheridan questioned Cherry about something that was in the script, Cherry took her aside and forcefully hit her with his hand across her face and head." 
  • She says she was "physically and emotionally injured, humiliated and stunned by Cherry's sudden physical violence and stated, 'you just hit me in the head, that is not okay. THAT IS NOT OKAY!' "
  • Sheridan says Cherry's abusive behavior was well-known on the set: "After an incident where Sheridan's co-star on the show Teri Hatcher went above Cherry's head to speak to ABC executives, Cherry told Sheridan, 'I hope Teri Hatcher gets hit by a car and dies.' "
  • Sheridan, whose character was killed off near the end of Season 5, also says her compensation for the show was $175,000 an episode for her fifth year, $200,000 for her sixth season and $250,000 for her seventh. She claims she stood to earn millions if she hadn't been fired.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to

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