Managers: Revisit TAA case

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Close to 300 personal managers on Wednesday asked the California Supreme Court to rehear arguments in a case it recently decided regarding application of the Talent Agencies Act to managers.

On Jan. 28, the court unanimously ruled that the TAA applies to personal managers as well as agents. The court also decided that the state's labor commissioner did not have to void completely a personal manager's contract when a minor violation of the TAA occurs. Instead, such violations could be severed from the contract (HR 1/29).

Wednesday's petition, filed by Marathon Entertainment, claims that the state high court's decision is detrimental to the artists, the very group the TAA was enacted to protect, because personal managers will now refuse to represent clients who do not have talent agents.

"It is uniformly agreed that the greatest benefit personal managers provide the artists' community is their willingness to represent an artist before or when no talent agent is otherwise interested in doing so," the petition states. "However, with the incorporation of severability providing a clear demarcation line of safety when representing artists who utilize dual representation of personal managers and talent agents … that benefit will end."

In the underlying case, Marathon sued "Strong Medicine" actress Rosa Blasi, claiming that it was owed manager commissions. Blasi responded by filing a claim with the labor commissioner alleging that Marathon acted as an unlicensed talent agent and procured employment for her.

Marathon's petition suggests the TAA does not clearly define what is considered an infraction under the law. Marathon takes the position that the court should either decide the TAA is enforced like other licensed professions — in which there are specific statutes that give notice of what is prohibited, such as for accountants or psychologists — or it is enforced like other "specialist" occupations, where it's legal to engage in a licensed occupation so long as the party doing so does not claim to be licensed in that occupation, like a psychologist.

Blasi's attorney, Michael Plonsker, said he is confident the court will stand by its opinion and deny the request.
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