Many have heard of the popular TV series called the Desperate Housewives. Of those who watch the show, almost all should be familiar with Nicollette Sheridan. She has been called the most “risqué” of the women on the show. In most recent news, she may be better known for her recently filed lawsuit.
According to Sheridan, she got into a verbal argument on set with the writer/creator of the show, Marc Cherry. She claims that the argument ended when Cherry slapped her. According to Sheridan, this was battery. According to Cherry, this was stage direction.
Sheridan responded to the incident by complaining to the network as well as the show’s producer. The next year, her character, Edie Britt, was killed in the midst of the show. Sheridan saw this as retaliation for her complaints regarding the “battery” on set the previous year and filed a lawsuit claiming such. The lawsuit was twice dismissed by trial courts and revived twice by the court of appeal.
What secret, sordid detail led to such an intriguing on again, off again response from the courts? It’s not nearly as intriguing as one might expect from a plaintiff known for being “spicy.” In fact, it’s downright boring. The question that is causing the confusion is this: Did Sheridan have to file an administrative complaint with the Labor Commission before suing?
According to the court of appeals, she did not have to file such a complaint. Their decision was based on a brand-new labor code stating:
“A person is not required to exhaust administrative remedies…unless the section under which the action is brought expressly requires it.” The sections referenced in this case are not seen to “expressly require” it as they use the term “may” instead of “shall” in regards to filing a claim with the Labor Commission. The court of appeals does not feel that the word “may” indicates a mandatory requirement. This resulted in the reinstatement of her case allowing Sheridan the opportunity to seek resolution in court.
If you need to discuss on the job battery or if you have other questions regarding southern California employment law, please get in touch with the experienced attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.