By Adam Markovitz
February 26, 2009 at 12:00 PM EST

The Associated Press reports that a panel of Actors’ Equity and Broadway League members failed to reach a unanimous decision today regarding Jeremy Piven’s abrupt departure from the Broadway production of Speed-the-Plow. Producers filed a grievance after the 43-year-old actor left the play in December, citing a diagnosis of mercury poisoning. The producers now have the right to proceed to arbitration.

In a statement, Piven’s rep says, “Mr. Piven is hopeful that the Producers will ultimately recognize that he didthe right thing by listening to the instructions from his doctors during hishospitalization, who told him to stop the play immediately and undergo enforcedrest, rather than continuing to perform and risk dire health consequences.” The statement goes on to say, “Although Mr. Piven’s forced withdrawal from the show was an enormouspersonal disappointment since it was his life-long dream to perform on Broadway,he is glad that his illness has helped raise public awareness of the serioushealth risks caused by Mercury exposure. He is also pleased that the Obamaadministration is seeking an international treaty to reduce Mercury pollution,which it has recognized as the world’s gravest chemical problem.”