×

California Labor Commissioner Rules Against Celine Dion in Legal Battle With ICM Over Unpaid Commission

Celine Dion
Kevin Mazur / Courtesy Rogers & Cowan

UPDATE: Celion Dion and her team have responded to the California Labor Commissioner’s ruling against her in the yearlong legal battle against ICM Partners over unpaid commission, saying the Commissioner “just got it wrong.”

“With due respect to the Labor Commissioner’s office, we think they just got it wrong. The decision imposes on Celine a common agent’s agreement that she and Mr. Prinz abandoned decades before. Forcing that old arrangement on her now as if she were a new artist — rather than an international superstar — ignores the history of their later contracts and wildly overpays Mr. Prinz for his contribution,” said Dion’s attorney Zia Modabber in a statement.

On Wednesday, the Labor Commissioner upheld the contract between ICM, Dion’s former talent agency, and the singer, following a dispute over unpaid commission after ICM dropped her.

Dion signed a multi-year touring and performing contract in 2017 that was reportedly worth $500 million, but was dropped by ICM and her longtime representative Rob Prinz in 2019 after failing to pay commission. ICM Partners sued the singer to receive the alleged unpaid funds, and ICM announced on Wednesday that the Labor Commissioner ruled in the company’s favor.

“Although the Omnibus Agreement (Dion’s agreement with AEG negotiated by ICM and Prinz) is valued at a staggering half a billion dollars, the Labor Commissioner has dealt with similar matters, albeit not in this monetary range. In similar fact patterns, we have consistently applied the rule stating, “[a] talent agency is generally entitled to receive post termination commissions for all employment secured by the agency prior to its termination,” the ruling states.

The Labor Commissioner cited fellow cases, including ICM Partners v. James Bates, Paradigm Talent Agency v. Charles Carroll and Endeavor Agency v. Alyssa Milano, in the decision.

“Commissions are owed post termination for monies negotiated by the agent during the term of the agreement and the artist cannot unilaterally determine there is no further obligation to pay for work already performed,” the decision states.

“We are very pleased that the Labor Commissioner listened to the testimony of numerous witnesses over several days and reviewed a significant number of documents before issuing a very thoughtful 32 page opinion which unequivocally confirmed ICM’s and Rob Prinz’s right to commission an extremely lucrative deal which they were instrumental in negotiating and procuring,” said Patricia Glaser, litigation counsel for the Beverly Hills-based ICM Partners.

Dion said Prinz was taking “much more credit for my career than he deserves.”

“I have paid Mr. Prinz many millions of dollars over the years. And when this all started, my team made an extremely generous offer to pay him and ICM many more millions for years to come, even though our old agreements were over and we had not made a new one. I’m not saying that Mr. Prinz did not do anything, but he’s taking much more credit for my career than he deserves. Mr. Prinz had never asked to be paid for 10 years for a few months’ work, and I never agreed to it,” Dion said. “When Rene was alive, he took care of my business and was always very fair with the people we worked with, and he taught me to be the same. Because he wasn’t here to stand up for me at the hearing, I feel like Mr. Prinz and ICM took advantage with their demands for money and revealing confidential information about my AEG deal. I feel betrayed.”