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'Desperate Housewives' jury deadlocked for 2nd day

March 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A struggle inside the jury room remained Friday as nine women and three men told Judge Elizabeth White that for the second day in a row, they were deadlocked on whether actress Nicollette Sheridan was wrongfully fired from "Desperate Housewives" by its producers, Touchstone Television.

The jury foreman, an unemployed bouncer, revealed to the judge the split was eight to four but, at the request of the judge, did not say which side the jury favored. The foreman disclosed to the judge Friday that jurors had "extensively reviewed several exhibits" and that there had been "no change of opinion since day one."

In the civil suit, the panel is not required to be unanimous about why Sheridan's character, Edie Britt, was killed off. It must however decide by at least nine to three that one side is more correct than the other.

Meanwhile, the attorneys in the case met in a separate court with a settlement judge to assess the financial aspects of the case and the pros and cons of a settlement. Such meetings are procedure when a jury appears to be struggling with a verdict. As the attorney for the defense left the courthouse Friday, he said there had been absolutely no developments in the case.

On Thursday, the jurors told the judge they were unclear on the definition of the word "complaint" and asked for clarification. In her lawsuit, Sheridan claimed that producers scripted her character's death in retaliation for Sheridan's complaint that the show's creator Marc Cherry hit her during rehearsal. The battery allegation was tossed out during the trial, leaving the jury to decide on a single charge of wrongful termination.

The lawyers on either side of the dispute hold opposing views on when or if Sheridan advised her employer of her complaint.

Cherry and ABC have denied wrongdoing, and say the decision to cut Sheridan's role was made four months before the on-set dispute.

The judge reminded the jurors that if there was no decision on the producers handling of Sheridan's termination, the case would have to be retried all over again. At least one juror nodded in agreement, others showed expressions of exasperation.

The jury was expected to resume deliberations on Monday.

Disney is the parent company of Touchstone Television Productions and ABC7.


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