Actress, ex-manager in appeals case

The California Supreme Court has set Nov. 6 as the date to hear appeals by Rosa Blasi and her ex-manager in their dispute over “Strong Medicine” commissions.

The court had notified Blasi and Rick Siegel, Blasi’s former manager, a year ago that it had granted hearings for their appeals of the June 2006 ruling by the Second District Court of Appeals.

Siegel has contended the ruling did not address his contention that the state Legislature did not intend for the Talent Agencies Act to be applied against managers. Blasi’s argued that appeals court erred in not invalidating the contract because he procured employment.

Blasi fired Siegel two years after she became a regular on “Strong Medicine,” leading to a 2003 suit by Siegel through his Marathon Entertainment shingle over unpaid commissions. Blasi then went to the California Labor Commission and accused Siegel of procuring employment on five occasions, leading to the state court ruling in favor of Blasi.

The 2006 appeals court ruling overturned part of the state court finding and backed Siegel’s contention that a single violation of the state’s Talent Agencies Act did not necessarily invalidate all other work he performed as a manager. The appeals court found that the legal portions of Blasi’s management contract could be “severable” from the illegal parts and cited a 1998 California Supreme Court ruling on an attorney fee dispute.

The appeals court also noted that Blasi’s attorneys had argued that if it allowed personal managers who violate the act to recover commissions from lawfully procured contracts, it would destroy the incentive for those managers to comply with the act.

The case revolves around the 1978 Talent Agencies Act, which deregulated managers and prevents them from procuring work. Siegel and other managers have long contended that the law enables actors to get out of management contracts without paying commissions.

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