TAA suit is a federal case

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The battle over whether managers should be covered by California's Talent Agencies Act when it comes to finding work for their clients has entered federal jurisdiction.

Marathon Entertainment owner Rick Siegel, who has led the charge against the TAA rules for the past several years, filed suit Tuesday against state Attorney General Jerry Brown, claiming that it is unconstitutional to enforce the TAA on talent managers.

Siegel, who is representing himself, claims that the state's courts and labor commission have enforced "tortuous, speculative interpretation of legislative intention, disturbing property without the required notice of either the forbidden conduct or of what penalties can be extracted when violations are found."

By his own estimates, Siegel claims that since current statutes regarding the TAA were enacted, the labor commission has, in finding licensing violations, "disgorged" more than $200 million of owed commissions.

The talent manager has been battling his former client, Rosa Blasi, for the past two years. Blasi stopped paying Siegel commissions after the two parted ways, claiming that he acted as an unlicensed talent agent.

In February, the state Supreme Court ruled that the labor commissioner, if finding a manager has acted as an unlicensed talent agent, can sever those violations from the contract rather than void the contract in its entirety.

Siegel is not asking for damages but instead wants the federal court to rule the application of the TAA to managers as unconstitutional.

"It will create great change," he said. "California's courts and labor commission will be no longer able to unconstitutionally punish those found to have procured employment for artists without a talent agency license."
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