3:43pm PT by Matthew Belloni
The Collective Sues Manager Claiming Stolen Clients (Exclusive)
Talent management company the Collective today sued two of its former clients and one of the company's former managers accused of stealing them away.
The lawsuit, filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, targets Virginia Williams, star of the USA series Fairly Legal, as well as actor Orlando Jones and talent manager Lisa Blum, who is accused of stealing the actors as clients when she was fired from the company.
“Blum not only wreaked havoc while at the Collective, but has wrongfully interfered with the Collective’s contractual relationships with Williams and Jones,” according to the complaint, filed by showbiz litigators Bryan Freedman and Jonathan Genish of LA’s Freedman & Taitelman.
Blum's lawyer denies the allegations, telling THR that the story goes deeper than the lawsuit.
"These allegations are outrageous and a reprehensible lie," says Blum attorney William Briggs of Lavely & Singer. "And the Collective will be proven to be liars. Both Virginia Williams and Orlando Jones are Lisa Blum's clients and were never the Collective's clients."
The lawsuit alleges Blum was hired by the Collective in 2009 and paid a salary of $125,000 plus bonuses. She is said to have been fired in Feburary and convinced both Williams and Jones to repudiate their relationship with the Collective. “Indeeed, Blum’s plan from the outset was to hoard certain clients and induce those clients to terminate their oral agreements with Plaintiff when it best suited her,” the complaint states.
The company claims Jones has failed to pay 10% commissions on the ABC series Identity. Williams is alleged to owe commissions from Season 2 of Fairly Legal (she is said to have earned $475,000 for her services on Season 1 and paid her managers 10%).
Briggs says the lawsuit was filed in the wake of Blum, who currently works for New Wave Entertainment, filing a labor department complaint against the Collective.
"What's completely outrageous is that this lawsuit is in retaliation for Ms. Blum asserting claims against certain principals of the Collective that include a hostile work environment claim," the attorney says.
The lawsuit contains causes of action for intentional interference with contractual relations, breach of contract, quantum meruit, declaratory relief and accounting.