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Judge calls Nicollette Sheridan lawsuit "annoying"


U.S. actress Nicollette Sheridan speaks during a news conference in Vienna February 18, 2009. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
U.S. actress Nicollette Sheridan speaks during a news conference in Vienna February 18, 2009. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

By Matthew Belloni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - ABC suffered a few pre-trial setbacks on Tuesday related to former "Desperate Housewives" actress Nicollette Sheridan's $20 million wrongful-termination lawsuit against the network and series creator Marc Cherry.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White denied the network's attempt to knock out a claim based on deficiencies in the complaint. Sheridan sued ABC and Cherry for assault and discrimination back in April claiming she was fired after she complained about Cherry striking her on the set.

ABC, which is vigorously defending the suit, argued that one of the causes of action was uncertain because it combined three distinct claims (discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and age).

The judge shot down that argument but took a slap (no pun intended) at the wording of Sheridan's lawsuit.

"Although annoying, inconvenient and inconsiderate, the failure to separate the three distinct wrongs does not result in an inability to understand what is alleged," White wrote in a tentative order.

She also denied ABC's attempt to strike some language relating to the alleged harassment from the complaint. The case will now continue into the discovery phase.

Also at the hearing, ABC attorney Adam Levin told the judge that the two sides had not agreed to mediation. That means this dispute could unfold in public, inspiring courtroom theatrics worthy of a "Desperate Housewives" episode.

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