I’m told that the judge’s decision in the ICM/Ed Limato arbitration could come as soon as tomorrow and as late as Tuesday. icmlimato.JPGThe proceedings themselves last Wednesday and Thursday spanned only two days, not the expected three. I hear Limato’s pals think it went “really well” for him and “Ed is in good shape”. But ICM’s friends are also confident.

Sources tell me that the decision will probably come down to the strictness of the interpretation of Section 2855 of the California Labor Code known as “The Seven Year Statute”. Intended to outlaw those standard seven-year employment contracts actors were forced to sign by the old studio moguls, it limits the amount of time anyone can be held to a contract for “personal services” to a maximum of seven years. Limato, of course, has worked for ICM for decades under contracts always extended or renegotiated. But is that the same as working under a 7-year contract? If yes, Ed leaves free and clear. edsclients.JPGIf no, ICM has claims on him and his commissions on his clients’ current and future projects. Meanwhile, the judge has managed to do something few are able to do when it comes to agents: put the fear of god in them. All the parties are so paranoid that they worry Her Honor will be checking their phone records. So leaks are coming from those uninvolved.

I can confirm that what you have heard from one gossip column is correct: CAA’s Chris Andrews, an ICM defector, was indeed called as a surprise witness during the arbitration hearing by Limato’s lawyer Tom Hansen. Sources tell me that Hansen asked Berg whether, to keep Chris on board, he told Andrews last year that ICM would be forcing out Limato and then Andrews could inherit all Ed’s clients. When Berg denied it, Hanson made like an episode of Law & Order and suddenly brought in Andrews to rebutt. But did he? Limato’s friends say yes. ICM’s pals say, “It really didn’t back up anybody. It was a waste.”

I gotta say, it’s hard to imagine anyone at ICM seriously thinking even a year ago that Steve Martin, Denzel Washington or Mel Gibson would stay with the agency if Limato left even under friendly circumstances much less nasty ones. For instance, at a recent Hollywood function, Steve Martin was complaining about ICM’s treatment of Limato and confirming that he’d follow the agent wherever he went. Meanwhile, I hear Limato’s asking price is a guaranteed $5 million, plus perks. Sources tell me that CAA and Endeavor won’t pursue him, UTA is unlikely, but William Morris might.