‘Housewife’ Sheridan Can Pursue Retaliation Claim

     (CN) – Former “Desperate Housewives” actress Nicolette Sheridan did not prove that she was wrongfully fired, but a California appeals court gave her another legal avenue to explore.
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     Sheridan played man-hungry real-estate agent Edie Britt for the first five seasons of the ABC show, which wrapped up an eight-season run earlier this year.
     She sued Touchstone Television Productions for wrongful termination after she did not return for Season 6. The character of Edie was electrocuted after crashing her car in the Season 5 finale.
     Sheridan claimed that the real reason for her demise on the show was a battery allegation she made against the show’s creator, Marc Cherry.
     The trial on the wrongful termination claim ended in a mistrial, and the Los Angeles-based Second District California Court of appeals court granted Touchstone’s motion that it should have prevailed.
     “A cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy does not lie if an employer decides simply not to exercise an option to renew a contract. In that instance, there is no termination of employment, but instead an expiration of a fixed-term contract,” wrote Justice Thomas Willhite Jr. on the court’s behalf.
     However, like many soap-opera characters, Sheridan’s case could come back to life, as Willhite outlined in the appellate opinion.
     “However, we conclude also that Sheridan should be permitted to file an amended complaint alleging a cause of action under Labor Code 6310 that Touchstone retaliated against her for complaining about unsafe working conditions (e.g. Cherry’s conduct) by deciding not to exercise its option to renew her contract,” Willhite wrote.

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