United Talent Agency Sues Ex-Clients Over Commissions

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United Talent Agency is becoming more aggressive on the commissions collection front with a series of lawsuits filed this week against former clients over money allegedly due.

The talent agency has lodged complaints in Los Angeles Superior Court against at least four individuals whose credits include such films as The Hobbit, Edge of Tomorrow and 300: Rise of an Empire. The defendants work on the production side.

UTA is hunting for its 10 percent with tales of doing oral agreements with loan-out companies, negotiating six- and even seven-figure deals for clients, and then being handed termination notices with ongoing commissions still outstanding.

The lawsuit with the biggest amount of money at stake — as well as some apparent push-back — involves David Nicksay.

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UTA says it procured work for him as executive producer on such projects as Walking with Dinosaurs 3D and Step Up All In. For the first, he earned $307,500 and for the latter, he received $1 million, according to the complaint.

After being terminated in December 2013, UTA says it sent a protection letter to Nicksay claiming a total of $104,750 in total commissions owed.

Nicksay is said to have first acknowledged in an email that commissions were owed for Step Up All In but asserted that "commissions for Walking with Dinosaurs were fully paid... [and that] services rendered during post production were expressly exempted from commissions."

UTA claims that is "completely false," asserting breach of oral contract, accounting, quantum meruit, and other causes and seeking payment plus interest, general damages and legal costs. The agency is represented by Bryan Freedman and Brian Turnauer at Freedman + Taitelan.

Email: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner