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Judge Limits Damages Claim in Desperate Housewives Lawsuit

The Los Angeles Superior Court judge hearing a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by actor Nicollette Sheridan has limited the damages she can be paid if she wins. Last May, the same judge tossed out the sexual harassment part of the lawsuit before allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

The suit was filed by the actor against ABC and the creator of the show, "Desperate Housewives," when the character played by Sheridan, Edie Britt, was killed, thereby eliminating her from the show. According to Reuters, the actor claimed that she was unfairly eliminated from the series in retaliation for making a complaint that the show's producer, Marc Cherry, had slapped her during an argument in 2008.

The judge ruled the actor was entitled to receive only one season's earnings instead of the two she was demanding in her lawsuit. In making the ruling, the judge said the producer had the right to eliminate the character played by the actor and that there was no precedent for paying damages to Sheridan beyond the series' sixth season.

This would limit Sheridan's damage claim to the $980,000 dollars she would have earned as an actor on the show for one season.

The trial in the case, which is scheduled to begin in October, also includes the judge's order preventing the actor or her attorneys from making any references to the producer's alleged rude actions toward other people during the course of the trial.

Attorneys for Sheridan were not immediately available to make comments about the case. Despite having her claim for damages reduced, the actor may still pursue a case for punitive damages if she wins the present lawsuit.

The Desperate Housewives series will end after its eighth season, which should end by May of 2012.

Source: Reuters, "Nicollette Sheridan's Damages Claim Limited in 'Housewives' Suit," Tim Kenneally, Aug. 30, 2011