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Judge urges 'Desperate Housewives' to settle with actress

Nicollette Sheridan and Marc Cherry
A Los Angeles County judge prodded lawyers for Nicollette Sheridan and the producers of “Desperate Housewives” on Wednesday to settle the wrongful-termination suit brought by the actress that resulted in a jury deadlock last month.

“I would strongly urge you to consider settlement discussions,” Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White told attorneys during a hearing in which she set a September retrial date.

A jury split 8 to 4 -– a vote short of the nine-vote majority required for a civil verdict -– in favor of Sheridan’s claim that her character was killed off in the fifth season of the show after she accused its creator, Marc Cherry, of striking her in a rehearsal.

Sheridan’s lawyers told the judge that ABC -– the parent company of defendant Touchstone Television Productions –- refused to discuss an out-of-court settlement, a charge disputed by a Touchstone lawyer.

The judge said the sides should meet with a mediator assigned to the case, adding, “An 8 to 4 vote is nothing to be overly confident about in terms of defending the case.”

Sheridan is seeking at least $5.7 million in economic losses and potentially more in punitive damages.


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-- Harriet Ryan

Left photo: Nicollette Sheridan. Credit: Valerie Macon / Getty Images

Right photo: Marc Cherry. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press

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