With case heading to the jury, defense in Nicollette Sheridan's “Desperate Housewives” suit counters “mystery witness” claims of ABC cover-up
Closing arguments will be heard Wednesday morning in Nicollette Sheridan's $6 million wrongful termination suit against ABC, with the case likely to go to the jury in the afternoon.
Each side will have two hours to make their final statements and offer brief rebuttals before L.A. Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White offers final instructions and sends the case to the jury.
Earlier Tuesday, Judge White issued a directed verdict dismissing the battery charge portion of Sheridan's case against the show's creator Mark Cherry. She said Sheridan's claims did not meet the standard for proof of battery.
With the charge against Cherry dismissed, the focus has shifted to Sheridan's allegation that she was fired from the show in February 2009 as retaliation for her complaint that Cherry had struck her in the head during a taping on Sept. 24, 2008.
The defense spent Tuesday afternoon seeking to undercut the morning testimony of "mystery witness" Michael Reinhart, the show's construction coordinator who testified he mistakenly received an email that suggested network brass had engaged in a cover-up of emails regarding Sheridan.
Jean Zoeller, vice-president of litigation for ABC Inc., was asked if there had been any emails sent asking employees to delete emails regarding Sheridan's suit. "Absolutely not," she replied.
She said that in June 2009, after Sheridan filed her suit, she had sent out an email specifically directing employees not to delete any emails related to the case.
Alexander Myers, an attorney for ABC's parent, the Walt Disney Co., testified that it was his job to co-ordinate the collection, searching, delivery and preservation of emails and electronic documents related to lawsuits. Myers said he makes copies and indexes them, then passes them along to the attorneys.
Under questioning from defense attorney Mark Baute, however, Myers admitted that since the "Housewives" taping occurred at the Universal lot, most of those involved used their own computers and personal emails, which would not have been monitored.