UTA Asks Court for Green Light to Poach More CAA Agents

UTA says the seven-year-rule makes CAA's agents fair game.
Corbis

UTA's raid of CAA agents isn't over, and now, UTA has fired a very public warning shot by asking the court for the green light to go after senior talent agents at CAA.

The agencies have been trading escalating blows in court since May 2015, when a handful of CAA comedy agents defected to UTA in what has been labeled the "lawless midnight raid."

Now an amended cross-complaint makes it clear there's more drama brewing between the agencies outside the courtroom. 

"UTA also wishes to compete for the services of other CAA agents who have executed documents that, alone or in combination, purport to bind them to employment with CAA for continuous periods in excess of seven years," writes UTA attorney Bryan Freedman. "UTA contends that it may do so without interfering with an enforceable contract because the Seven-Year-Rule renders any part of such a document unenforceable against the agent for the period beyond seven years."

The seven-year-rule gives employees the statutory right to consider competitive offers at least once every seven years, free from contractual restraints. It's the same argument UTA has used to defend three of the agents who left last year, Dominic Nuciforo Jr., Martin Lesak and Jason Heyman.

In May, CAA dialed up the heat in its amended complaint by claiming UTA brass knew not only knew agents Nuciforo, Lesak, Heyman, Gregory Cavic and Gregory McKnight were going to leave under the cover of night, but even helped them draft their resignation letters. UTA responded with a brief that ripped CAA for whining because it was finally the victim of the kind of poaching practices it had spent decades perfecting.

A Friday hearing is expected to decide whether the increasingly contentious battle plays out in open court or confidential arbitration.

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