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Judge tosses battery claim in Sheridan trial

On-set incident with Marc Cherry will not be considered by jury

A Los Angeles judge will not allow jurors to consider actress Nicollette Sheridan’s battery claim against “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry.

But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White ruled Tuesday that she will allow Sheridan’s wrongful termination claim — contending that her character was killed off from the show in retaliation for complaining about an on-set dispute in which she says Cherry hit her — to proceed.

White said that based on a past workplace case, the thesp’s battery claim did not rise to the level of consideration by the jury in the civil trial.

Adam Levin, representing Cherry and Touchstone Television, said that White’s decision means Cherry is no longer part of the case.

Touchstone Television remains a defendant.

One of Sheridan’s attorney’s, Mark Baute, said afterward that “It is better for the jury to get the claim that matters.”

Sheridan is suing for $5.7 million, claiming that her character was written off the show after a Sept. 24, 2008, incident in which Cherry struck her on the head during a discussion over a line in a script. Cherry said he merely gave her a “tap” as he was trying to demonstrate how she should perform a scene.

Earlier Tuesday, in a twist worthy of a TV drama, a surprise witness testified that shortly after Sheridan filed her suit in 2010, he got an email suggesting that the show’s computer hard drives would be wiped clean of information having to do with killing off her character. Such an email would suggest an effort to destroy evidence.

But Michael Reinhart, construction coordinator for the show, said he couldn’t recall who sent the email or exactly what its wording was.

Reinhart said that after he read the email on his workplace computer, he deleted it. He also did not report it to Touchstone Television’s ethics hotline.

He said he did tell two work associates as well as his wife.

White allowed Reinhart’s testimony over the objections of Levin.

Attorneys will give their closing arguments in the lawsuit on Wednesday.

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