Marc Cherry Off the Hook in Desperate Housewives Trial

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White has effectively let Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry off the hook in the civil case that actress Nicollette Sheridan filed against him claiming that he "hit" her on the head during a 2008 rehearsal and then fired her after she complained about it. In a legal move called "a directed verdict," White said she was tossing out the "battery" claim, saying she thinks that after weighing all the evidence that the case is more appropriately fitting for a workers’ compensation claim. For a battery claim, White said, Sheridan had to prove Cherry intentionally meant to hurt her, and there was no such evidence presented. Although the judge's decision does not mean that she believes Cherry did not hit Sheridan, it does remove Cherry from the lawsuit. The jury will only now consider whether ABC Studios retaliated against Sheridan and fired her. Cherry's attorney, Adam Levin, said Cherry was "pleased with the results." The battery claim only carried $1 in damages but was significant for Sheridan because, if she prevailed, it would have been determined that Cherry did indeed hit her, her attorney Patrick Maloney said. The jury will not get to opine on whether Cherry "hit her or not," Maloney said. The judge previously set a cap of $6 million, or one season's salary, on the wrongful termination claim. But the jury can set punitive damages if it finds in favor of Sheridan. "I'm thrilled with the judge's ruling," Cherry said, adding that he won't comment further until the trial is over. The case is expected to go to the jury on Wednesday.