While Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay is in the midst of negotiating her return for the upcoming 13th season of the show, she is suing talent agency WME over commissions for Seasons 11 and 12. The agency, which was created in mid-2009 by the merger of WMA and Endeavor, recently filed demand for arbitration to receive commissions for Hargitay’s services on those two seasons. In a lawsuit, filed today in New York and obtained by TMZ, Hargitay claims that the agency has no legal claim to that money. Hargitay became a client of WMA in 2002 and left in May 2009 for Paradigm, following her WMA agent Erwin More. (Hargitay is currently at CAA, where she signed recently.) In the complaint, the actress claims that the only representation agreement she had with WMA was for one year, and it expired in 2004.
WMA continued to represent her but, according to the suit, Hargitay terminated the agency in May 2009, shortly before its merger with Endeavor and “after WMA management refused to assist her in negotiating for those seasons (11 and 12).” “WMA bases its claims on the long-expired WMA agreement — to which it was no party, and which was never assigned to it — and a purported implied or oral contract which it contends arose between WMA and Ms. Hargitay,” the complaint says. There is a lot of money at stake: Under Hargitay’s contract for Seasons 11 and 12, she was paid around $400,000 per episode, including backend and other additional compensation.