Hollywood Managers Back New Appeal Challenging Talent Agencies Act (Exclusive)

TJ Scott

Should Hollywood talent managers remain in danger of losing their hard-earned commissions if they are found to have improperly "procured" employment for clients?

That issue, long one of the most sensitive in the entertainment representation community, is coming to the foreground again in the form of a new appeal by legal crusader Rick Siegel that is finding broad if not overwhelming support within the talent management community.

Siegel, as you might recall, is the manager (now former manager--he left the business) whose case against actress Rosa Blasi (Lifetime's Strong Medicine) challenged the Talent Agencies Act, the California law that says only licensed talent agents can "procure" work in the entertainment business. Other representatives, including managers, may only advise clients on their general careers, and if they are caught procuring jobs, their contracts with clients can be voided and commissions disgourged.

It's a fairly draconican law, especially since Hollywood has evolved into a business where the expected duties of managers and agents often overlap. Both regularly provide specific career advice and, yes, some help their clients get specific jobs. The TAA is thus sometimes used by talent who simply wish to escape paying commissions to a manager that is no longer wanted. We've seen cases where an actor fires his manager, the manager sues to obtain commissions, and the actor claims a violation of the TAA to void the management contract. 

Still, the law is clear and is widely known in Hollywood representation circles.

In 2008, Siegel's case against Blasi went up to the California Supreme Court, where the court refused to throw out the law or its tough remedies for infractions. He then sued his lawyers at LA's Fox & Spillane firm for malpractice for failing, in his view, to argue some key points during the appeal. Having lost an arbitration against the lawyers, he's now appealing to the state's high court a refusal by the lower court to vacatate the arbitration--and, in the process, he's raising the TAA issues anew.

What's interesting now is how a number of prominent management companies have joined the fight, submitting letters to the court or otherwise backing the appeal. The biggest managers in Hollywood -- companies like Anonymous Content, Brillstein, Mosaic and Management 360 -- seem to be absent from the list, but there are a few companies included with considerable clout, such as Luber Roklin, Generate and Thruline, as well as the Talent Managers Association and the National Conference of Personal Managers. (A full list below).

“California's Labor Commissioner and courts have erroneously applied the TAA to personal managers in an unfair and disproportionate fashion,” says Clinton Ford Billups Jr., president of NCOPM, a trade association of personal managers. “It has resulted in forfeitures of fairly earned contractual fees legitimately earned in commercial commerce."

Siegel wants the court to review whether a 1982 revision of the law should be interpreted to take out the tough disgourgement penalties for violations. And he's raising many of the same issues he did before, challenging whether the TAA even applies to managers. Siegel is representing himself.

Here's the full list of managers backing the appeal:

National Conference of Personal Managers

Talent Managers Association

323 Talent Management Group

3G Management

AAArtists International

abc Management

Access L.A. Talent Management

Affirmative Entertainment

American Talent Management

Arc Talent Management

Artist International

Artist Management


Artistic Enteavors

Marilyn Atlas Management

Authentic Talent & Literary Management

Bayonne Entertainment

David Belenzon Management

Boo Management & Consulting

Barry Bookin Management


Robin Brooks Talent Management

Brucks Entertainment

The Burstein Company

CFB Productions


Scott Carlson Entertainment

Cohen Entertainment

Cohen/Thomas Management

Cold War Management

Contemporary Talent Partners

The Coppage Company

Corner of the Sky Entertainment

The Coronel Group

The Covington Group

Jim Crabbe

DAS Communications

DCA Productions

Marv Dauer Management

Delaney Management

DiSante Frank & Company

Divine Management

Dream Talent Management

Dugan & Story Entertainment

Elkins Entertainment

Envision Entertainment

Essential Talent

Evans Management

Evolution Management

Exclusive Talent Management

Flashpoint Entertainment

Flutie Entertainment

Michael Forman Management

Forster Entertainment


Golan & Blumberg

Grade A Entertainment

Graduated Productions

Grand View Management

Joan Green Management

Green Key Management

Hassman-Fitzgerald Entertainment

Joanne Horowitz Management

In Momentum Management

International Artists PR & Talent Management


Insight Management and Production

JC Management

JudyO Productions

Justice & Ponder

Kass & Sokes

Kerner Management Company

Kings Highway Entertainment


Lapides/Lear Entertainment

Holly Lebed Personal Management

Lemack & Company

Lesher Entertainment

Levine Management

Levity Entertainment Group

Life Management

Lighthouse Entertainment

Luber Roklin Entertainment

Magnet Management (2)

The Marshak/Zachary Co. (2)

Midwest Talent Management

Billy Miller Management

Niad Management

Eileen O'Farrell Personal Management

Open All Nite Entertainment

Opus Entertainment

Parallel Entertainment

Cathy Parker Management

Pivot Point Entertainment

The Pitt Group

Margrit Polak Management

Pop Art Entertainment

Precision Entertainment

Joe Priesnitz Artist Management

The Priluck Company

Prodigy Talent Group

Qualstar Enterprises

Quinn Management

Rain Management Group

Reach For the Stars

Red Baron Management

Lara Rosenstock Management

Jeff Ross Entertainment

Heidi Rotbart Management

Rothman Patino Andres Entertainment

Rugolo Entertainment

Sager Entertainment

Sages Entertainment Group

San Francisco Sound

Sanders Armstrong Caserta Management

Tom Sawyer Entertainment

Schumacher Entertainment

Meghan Schumacher Management

Seven Summits Pictures and Management

Sharyn Talent Management

Shelter Entertainment

Bill Silva Management

Silver Mine Entertainment

Simmons and Scott Entertainment

Jan Maxwell Smith Talent Manager

Susan Smith Mangement

Sneak Preview Entertainment

Spring Management

Stein Entertainment Group

Steinberg Talent Management Group

The Sterling/Winters Company

Studio Talent Group

Symmetry Entertainment

Third Hill Entertainment

Thruline Entertainment

Tornado Pictures LLC

Trilogy Talent Management

True Talent Management

Ultimate Talent Group

Brad Waisbren Enterprises (2)

Wax Entertainment

Whitesmith Entertainment

Whitaker Entertainment

Wendy Winks

Yes Dear Entertainment

Zero Gravity Entertainment