Judge Pauses CAA-UTA Open Court Poaching Battle

The fight continues behind closed doors in arbitration.
Illustration by: Taylor Callery

Nearly a month after indicating she would stay the court battle involving two agents who left CAA for UTA during the so-called "Lawless Midnight Raid," a California judge has officially hit pause.

Judge Nancy Newman on Tuesday adopted her earlier tentative ruling and put CAA's open court dispute with UTA, Gregory Cavic and Gregory McKnight on hold pending a separate arbitration involving their colleagues Martin Lesak, Jason Heyman and Nick Nuciforo.

While the two battles were sparked by the same incident, legally they're quite different. Lesak, Heyman and Nuciforo were under employment contracts when they quit and those agreements demand that any disputes be handled in arbitration. Meanwhile, Cavic and McKnight weren't under contract but are being sued for tortuous interference, under the notion that they helped the other three break contract.

Newman this week also adopted a second tentative ruling and denied without prejudice UTA's motion to compel arbitration to determine whether the LLC agreement signed by all five agents (when TPG bought its majority stake) trumps the employment contract signed by three of them. The judge indicated that she believes the issue can be adequately resolved during the course of the current arbitration. If not, because Newman denied the motion without prejudice, UTA can take another shot at a second, separate arbitration later.