desperate-housewives

Mistrial declared in 'Desperate Housewives' case

March 19, 2012 at 3:23 PM ET

A mistrial has been declared in the legal battle between Nicollette Sheridan and ABC.

The judge on Monday polled the jury, which said no additional deliberation would make a difference. The jurors said they were split 8 to 4 in favor of Sheridan.

The news, announced by Judge Elizabeth Allen White in Los Angeles Superior Court, brings a bizarre end to a strange trial over whether Sheridan was killed off the hit ABC dramedy in retaliation for complaining about being struck in the head by executive producer Marc Cherry.

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During the two-week trial, Sheridan and her attorney Mark Baute argued that ABC, Cherry and others conspired to fire her from the show in response to her raising the abuse issue to the network’s human resources department. ABC countered with a parade of witnesses who testified that the decision to kill off Sheridan’s character was made in May 2008, months before her Sept. 2008 altercation with Cherry.

Sheridan, who played Edie Britt on "Housewives" for five seasons, claimed that her dismissal from the show cost her at least $5.7 million in lost wages. She had initially alleged causes of action including gender and sexual orientation discrimination, as well as battery, but those claims were dismissed at various stages of the case. Her lone remaining claim was for wrongful termination, which the jury spent three days deliberating.

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On Friday, lawyers for ABC and Sheridan said there will be no settlement of the litigation over the actress' firing from "Housewives" despite the jury's inability to come to a verdict after two days of deliberations.

"The judge asked the two parties to talk," ABC lead lawyer Adam Levin told journalists at Los Angeles Superior Court that afternoon. "It went nowhere. I'm going to take another yoga class. Have a nice weekend."

This breaking news story will be updated as it develops.

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