Nicollette Sheridan's battery and wrongful termination lawsuit against ABC and "Desperate Housewives" series creator Marc Cherry can move forward, a judge ruled on Tuesday, May 3.
Sheridan filed the $20 million lawsuit in April of 2010, claiming that Cherry had hit her and fired her from the series because she is a woman. Her character, Edie Britt, was killed off of the series and the actress claims Cherry hit her in the face on the Wisteria Lane set in 2008 after she questioned him about a script and then fired her in retaliation for complaining.
The actress appeared at a summary judgment hearing at a California court on Tuesday and a judge ruled that her lawsuit can move forward on allegations that include wrongful termination and battery and set a trial date for June 8.
UPDATE at 5:25 p.m. ET: Responses from Marc Cherry's lawyer and ABC
Marc Cherry's attorney, Adam Levin, told OnTheRedCarpet.com in a statement that the judge dismissed Sheridan's claims of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, gender violence, assault and retaliation and retained only her allegations of wrongful termination and a "fictitious battery claim" in the case.
"We are pleased with the results today, since there's very little left of Ms. Sheridan's case," Levin said.
"Though the court is required to give creeds to Ms. Sheridan's allegations at this stage in the proceeding, we are confident that a jury, faced by all of the evidence and numerous witnesses, will find that Edie Britt was killed off of 'Desperate Housewives' for lawful reasons and Ms. Sheridan was never battered," he said.
Sheridan's attorney had no immediate comment on the matter and an ABC spokesperson told OnTheRedCarpet.com: "The network doesn't comment on litigation."
The network has said in the past that it has found similar claims from Sheridan to be without merit.
In late April, a former producer of "Desperate Housewives," Lori Kirkland Baker, submitted a sworn declaration that supports the actress' timeline of events, asserting that the decision to kill-off Sheridan's character was first brought up in fall 2008 while Cherry's team claims that they made the decision to kill off Sheridan's character in May 2008 and told the actress in February 2009.
The validity of Sheridan's case depends on the timeline and Baker's statement could add significant weight to her case.
Sheridan was making $175,000 per episode by the show's fifth season.
"Sheridan was obviously unhappy to lose her job as a highly-compensated star of Desperate Housewives," read the ABC/Cherry motion for summary judgment. "However, she cannot state a legal claim based on the creative decisions and actions challenged in her lawsuit."
"Desperate Housewives" actresses Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria-Parker, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross have so far remained neutral regarding the charges, adding that their work environment is not hostile.
"We have no first-hand knowledge of what Nicollette may or may not have experienced, but we would never characterize our set as a hostile environment," Hatcher, Longoria-Parker, Huffman and Cross said in a recent statement. "It is, in fact, the opposite. The friendships and support that Marc Cherry, the cast, the crew and the producers have shared for the past six years have made this a wonderful job that we are grateful for every day."