Nicollette Sheridan Nicollette Sheridan

One day after Nicollette Sheridan filed a $20 million lawsuit against ABC and Desperate Housewives executive producer Marc Cherry, the actress' attorney called her former boss' behavior  "abusive and appalling," in a statement obtained by

"The lawsuit is not something Nicollette wanted to do; it's something she felt compelled to do," Sheridan's attorney, Mark Baute said in the statement. "Nicollette asked ABC for help and protection from Mr. Cherry's abusive behavior, and ultimately, ABC was not willing or able to provide that protection."

Desperate Housewives' Nicollette Sheridan suing ABC, Marc Cherry

The 46-year-old actress filed suit Monday accusing ABC, ABC Studios, Touchstone Television and Cherry of wrongful termination. Sheridan claims Cherry physically assaulted her, and that she was fired from the series after complaining about it.

The suit also alleges assault, battery, gender violence, discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and age, retaliatory termination, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Nicollette Sheridan is leaving Desperate Housewives

"We expect the case to be hard fought, and it will not be a surprise if ABC and Mr. Cherry try to depict Nicollette to be something other than a team player and long-standing industry professional," Baute said in the statement. "She put her heart and soul into the role of the Edie character, a character that she truly enjoyed playing."

After the suit was filed Monday, ABC Studios released the following statement: "While we have yet to see the actual complaint, we investigated similar claims made by Ms. Sheridan last year and found them to be without merit." The studio had no additional comment Tuesday.

Sheridan played Wisteria Lane vixen Edie Britt for five years before the character was killed off last season.