CAA Sues UTA Over Defections

Creative Artists Agency filed suit late April 2 against United Talent Agency accusing it of essentially poaching agents and artists in a “lawless midnight raid…in a desperate attempt to steal clients and employees” in the aftermath of the defection of at least 10 comedy agents.

The complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges UTA and agents Gregory Cavic and Gregory McKnight of working “clandestinely with each other and UTA to induce a number of CAA employees to abruptly terminate their employment with CAA and to join UTA.

“At least three of the employees whom UTA, Cavic and McKnight induced to leave CAA had entered into enforceable, ongoing contracts with CAA.”

The complaint further accuses Cavic and McKnight of soliciting “existing and prospective” CAA clients and stalling negotiations with current and prospective clients in order to divert “significant economic opportunities” to UTA in what is described as “corporate raiding.”

The harshly worded complaint accuses UTA of an “illegal and unethical conspiracy” that was “months in the making.” It claims agents Nick Nuciforo,Martin Lesak and Jason Heyman remain under employment contracts but were encouraged by Cavic and McKnight to “abruptly terminate their employment with CAA.”

The suit alleges intentional interference with contracts and for economic advantage, breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy to breach duty of loyalty and violations of business and professions codes.

CAA, in addition to requesting a temporary restraining order prohibiting UTA from soliciting or providing services to any clients of Nuciforo, Lesak or Heyman, seeks unspecified damages including punitive and exemplary damages, disgorgement of amounts “paid by CAA to Cavic and McKnight during their period of disloyalty” plus court and attorneys fees.