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US agencies at war over poaching claims

APA alleges Gersh hired agent Garrett Smith despite Smith still being in contract, intending to "disrupt and interfere with that relationship"

By IQ on 08 Sep 2016

Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Los Angeles, Visitor7, APA/Gersh/Garrett Smith suit

Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles, where the case is being heard

image © Visitor7/Wikimedia Commons

Two US booking agencies are at war in the Superior Court of Los Angeles over the alleged poaching of Beverly Hills-based agent Garrett Smith.

In a dispute that mirrors that of Wantickets’ lawsuit against Eventbrite, the Agency for the Performing Arts (APA) – whose musical roster includes Alkaline Trio, Dream Theater, Paul Oakenfold, 50 Cent, The Proclaimers and Scorpions – is seeking damages for interference with contractual relations, interference with prospective economic advantage and unfair competition from The Gersh Agency, of which Smith is now an employee, despite being under contract with APA until September 2017.

APA is also suing Smith himself for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the duty of loyalty and unfair competition.

“Gersh knew of the economic relationship between APA and Smith and intended to disrupt and interfere with that relationship”

In its complaint against literary, comedy and sports agency Gersh, APA’s lawyers, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp’s Adam Levin and Brian M. Ragen, allege the agency “hired Smith despite being specifically advised by plaintiff [APA] that plaintiff was entitled to Smith’s exclusive services for the duration of the employment agreement.

“Defendant knew of the economic relationship between plaintiff and Smith, and intended to disrupt and interfere with that relationship,” they add.

In its suit against Smith (Agency for the Performing Arts Inc. vs Garrett Smith), meanwhile, APA alleges the ex-employee “breached his duty of loyalty to plaintiff by, among other things, rendering services for Gersh during the term of the employment agreement, seeking to divert Plaintiff’s existing and prospective client relationships and business opportunities to Gersh” and encouraged other APA employees to “terminate their employment with plaintiff and accept employment at Gersh”.

IQ has contacted Smith for comment.


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