Ex-“Desperate Housewives” star Nicollette Sheridan had a majority of jurors on her side — but not enough to avoid a mistrial in her wrongful-termination lawsuit, jurors told The Hollywood Reporter.
Eight of 12 jurors sided with Sheridan in her suit, which sought $5.7 million in back pay from the ABC television network. That’s just one juror short of the nine that are required for a verdict in a civil lawsuit.
But Sheridan’s lawyer cast Monday’s mistrial in a positive light: “She got her message out,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. And there may soon be a sequel.
A mistrial in Sheridan's "Desperate Housewives" civil lawsuit means she can try her case again from the very beginning.
Aside from a hung jury, there can be other grounds for a mistrial such as misconduct by an attorney, a juror, or a judge. Unexpected situations, such as an attorney suffering a heart attack or a defendant's violent courtroom outburst, can also result in a mistrial.
In Sheridan's case, jurors cited witness credibility as a major factor in their three days of deliberations. "There were a lot of people the jurors found not credible," one juror explained to The Hollywood Reporter.
During two weeks of trial testimony, Sheridan's lawyers alleged she was fired -- by way of her character, Edie Britt, being killed off -- in retaliation for complaining about being hit by executive producer Marc Cherry in 2008.
Cherry and Sheridan had argued over a script, and Cherry allegedly hit Sheridan in the head. Sheridan's lawsuit originally included a battery claim against Cherry, but a judge dismissed that claim last week.
ABC's lead lawyer told The Hollywood Reporter he's prepared to fight Nicollette Sheridan's "Desperate Housewives" lawsuit again, after Monday's mistrial. 'Hopefully, it will soon be over," he said.
- Jurors speak out after 'Desperate Housewives' trial (Los Angeles Times)
- Desperate Housewives Trial: Nicollete Sheridan Takes the Stand (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
- Jury Undecided Despite Desperate Housewives Lawsuit Bombshells (FindLaw's California Case Law blog)
- What Happens When a Jury is Deadlocked? (FindLaw's Blotter)