UTA Accuses CAA Of ‘Hyperbole’

United Talent Agency asked a judge to dismiss big chunks of CAA’s lawsuit against it, apparently objecting to its description of UTA’s hiring away of six comedy agents last spring as “a lawless, midnight raid,” among other things. 

The motion to strike was filed Oct. 9 in Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Santa Monica branch. It asks for all or portions of 36 separate paragraphs in CAA’s first amended complaint to be stricken from the record. Its objections appear to be mostly in response to declarations of what is and isn’t legal, and to instances of particularly harsh or colorful language.

UTA says the language in CAA’s complaint, filed shortly after UTA announced it hired the agents in April, is awash in “hyperbolic prose befitting a dime store novel” and moves to strike either the term “unlawful” or “unlawful conduct” in eight specific instances, while leaving intact the remainder of their containing paragraphs.

Calling the lawsuit a “straightforward business dispute between plaintiff CAA and its former employees defendants Gregory Cavic and Gregory McKnight … and nothing more,” UTA in its filing accuses CAA of using the suit, and its first amended complaint, as means of conducting a smear campaign against it.

“Like its original Complaint in this action, CAA’s First Amended Complaint is riddled with irrelevant statements, half-truths and downright lies” and cites Code of Civil Procedure sections to argue for whole swaths of text to be stricken from the complaint. UTA also challenges CAA’s quest for punitive damages because the complaint fails to support claims of “malicious, oppressive, or fraudulent acts” necessary for the award.

“Hyperbole alone is insufficient to support a claim for punitive damages,” UTA says in its motion. The motion is scheduled to be heard May 6, 2016.