8:36am PT by Eriq Gardner
Talent Agency Defections Spark Trade Secrets Lawsuit
A Hollywood talent agency is brawling with three of its former agents who left for a competitor, but not before allegedly stealing confidential information to poach clients.
Diverse Talent Group, run by Chris Nassif, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday against agents Isam Durzi, Ehab Durzi and Wendy Morrison, as well as the Function Talent Group, the rival agency that is said to be the new home of the three defendants.
The talent agency says on its website that it represents talent on television shows such as Big Bang Theory, Mad Men and Lost, as well as feature films such as Transformers and X-Men.
The firm's client base was allegedly put at risk when the three defendants, still working for Diverse, obtained confidential materials, such as customer lists and the personal and financial information of clients. The three supposedly used this info to poach clients for the Function Talent Group.
After Durzi, Durzi and Morrison departed, they are said to have "hacked into Diverse's computer system, changed the agency's contact information, and sent messages to clients instructing them to contact Defendant Ehab Durzi at the newly-diverted number."
The complaint goes on to say they had some success, causing the termination of some of the plaintiff's client representations.
Diverse is alleging misappropriation of trade secrets, intentional interference, breaches of duty and contract, conversion, and slander, and demanding a temporary restraining order prohibiting the disclosure or use of the proprietary information.
According to the complaint, Diverse expects the dispute to be headed to arbitration as a result of employment agreements with the three former agents, but the company says it was forced to seek provisional remedies to deter the diversion of some of its clients.
Defendants couldn't be reached for comment.