UTA Accuses CAA of ‘Slander Campaign’ in Latest Lawsuit Acrimony

UTA is attempting to strike portions of CAA’s lawsuit over the defection of agents earlier this year, claiming that CAA is engaging in a “slander campaign” yet has protected itself through litigation privilege.

At issue is CAA’s most recent amended complaint in its lawsuit against UTA and Gregory Cavic and Gregory McKnight, two of the agents who defected to UTA in March and April.

CAA claims that UTA and other defendants engaged in an “illegal and unethical conspiracy” to get a number of agents who were under contract to breach their agreements and take positions at a rival agency.

UTA contends that an amended complaint CAA filed last month “alleges irrelevant, false, improper or immaterial matters, which have absolutely nothing to do with this action but are prejudicial to the defendants and therefore should be stricken.” UTA also claims that CAA hasn’t plead sufficient facts to support an award of punitive or exemplary damages, as well as for attorneys’ fees.

UTA claims that CAA’s complaint uses “hyperbolic prose befitting a dime store novel” that have nothing to do with the case against the defendants. They note that even though CAA alleges “unlawful” activities, the agency never contacted a law enforcement agency.

The case revolves around the question of the contracts that three of the agents — Jason Heyman, Martin Lesak and Nick Nuciforo — had with CAA at the time of their departure. UTA’s lawyers maintain they were invalid because the length of the contract exceeded seven years, which is a violation of California law.

CAA maintains the contracts were valid because the threesome had struck renewal deals with the agency over the years, which constituted new contracts that did not exceed the seven-year time frame.

CAA’s litigation against UTA is playing out on two fronts, in the civil lawsuit and through private arbitration filed per the terms of the employment contracts for Heyman, Lesak and Nuciforo. Cavic and McKnight were not under contract and are part of the civil suit.

CAA claims intentional interference with contractual relations, inducing breach of contract, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy to breach fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, breach of duty of loyalty, conspiracy to breach duty of loyalty, aiding and abetting breach of duty of loyalty, and violations of business and professions code section 17200.

A hearing on UTA’s motion to strike is scheduled for May 4.

News of the latest move was first reported in The Hollywood Reporter.

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