CAA Expected To File Amended Complaint In UTA Agent Poaching Case

If the legal battle between UTA and CAA over agent poaching this spring were a heavyweight boxing match, today saw the opponents getting ready to do the equivalent of leaving their dressing rooms.

In a short status conference hearing at the Santa Monica courthouse, attorneys for the two agencies revealed that the trio of depositions of CAA heavyweights have already occurred, and the case is moving forward with more discovery. Perhaps more importantly, the judge decided not to name a trial date for the matter and CAA look almost certain to be filing an amended complaint sometime soon. While no details of how that amended complaint will significantly differ from their original filing of April 3, it seems likely that the amended complaint will come in the next month, sources tell me.

Representing UTA today in LA Superior Court were Bryan Freedman and Sean Hardy of Freedman + Taitelman, LLP. The main lawyer representing CAA in front of Judge Lisa Hart Cole was Anthony Oncidi of Proskauer Rose LLP.

At the beginning of the hearing, the judge playfully asked the lawyers what was going on. “Lots is happening”, replied Freedman, as well as the announcement that CAA would likely be filing an amended complaint. The UTA attorney also said that his clients would be seeking a summary judgment on the seven-year rule soon. The seven-year rule is extremely pertinent in this case because it deems that no contract in California can be binding over that time limit.

Since the initial poaching of five agents in late March and the subsequent legal hoopla, a number of depositions have been taken in this case. We know that CAA’s Richard Lovett, Bryan Lourd, and Kevin Huvane, have all sat for questioning before lawyers. In the case of Bryan Lourd, a judge was also present at his deposition at the airport courthouse. Sources tell me that David “Doc” O’Connor is scheduled to be the next deposition in the case. O’Connor left the agency in June.

With the upcoming amended complaint as well as summary judgment motion filing in mind, December 11 could prove a very important day in this case. That is when a duo of demurrer hearings are scheduled before Judge Cole on the initial complaint as well as civil proceedings surrounding a trio of former CAA agents.

There are also three arbitration cases moving forward in the poaching matter. A mediator has been selected for the cases of Jason Heyman, Martin Lesak and Nick Nuciforo. Final approval on that JAMS mediator is expected soon. CAA say the trio had binding employment contracts with the agency when they split for UTA’S pastures.

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