Madsen files Innovative suit

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Mr. Blonde's not very happy with his former talent agent.

On Wednesday, Michael Madsen, who had his breakout role on "Reservoir Dogs," filed a $10 million lawsuit against Innovative Artists claiming that the agency is trying to collect on commissions for work procured and negotiated after he severed ties with the firm four years ago.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, also names Innovative owner Scott Harris and alleges that Madsen's contract with Innovative was changed from a one-year term to a three-year term without his knowledge.

Calls to Innovative for comment were not returned.

Madsen signed with Innovative in April 2002 and terminated his contract in January 2003, claiming the agency failed to obtain bona fide employment offers in eight consecutive months. Pursuant to his contract, Madsen was allowed to get out of the agreement, according to the lawsuit.

Two years later, Innovative filed a petition with the California Labor Commissioner claiming that the actor owed it commissions. The complaint was sent to arbitration, though Madsen claims his former attorney in the case did not get his OK to do so.

Madsen's lawsuit asks the court to halt that arbitration and to find that he owes no commissions to Innovative. He seeks $5 million in general damages and another $5 million in punitive damages.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of another case filed in late August against Innovative by two of its former agents, Michael McConnell and Ben Press. That lawsuit alleges that Innovative's employment agreements are one-sided and that the two agents were forced to accept seven-year contracts barring them from working elsewhere, while Innovative could fire them on short notice.

That case is still pending. Press and McConnell have since formed a boutique agency, Fortitude.
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