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US agencies at war over poaching claims

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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Fees on self-print tickets unlawful, court rules

Charging service fees on print-at-home tickets should be outlawed, a German court has ruled.

Handing victory to the North Rhine-Westphalian Consumer Association (Verbraucherzentrale NRW) in its lawsuit against CTS Eventim, the district court of Bremen found service charges on self-printed tickets to be “inadmissible” (unzulässig) and ruled Eventim may only charge extra fees on tickets for postage costs.

The judgment, which is not yet legally binding, was a “test case”, says the Verbraucherzentrale, and opens the door for legal action against six other online ticket agencies – ADticket, Ticketmaster, ReserviX, easyticket, BonnTicket and D-Ticket – which it has “warned” against charging similar fees.

Should the judgment be upheld, Eventim may be required to reimburse customers for ticket fees

Eventim currently offers ‘print @ home’ and ‘ticketdirect’ options for ticket delivery, both of which are printed by the customer, for a €2.50 fee.

Should Eventim not appeal the verdict, or a higher court uphold the judgment, the Munich-based company may be required to reimburse customers, says lawyer Thomas Waetke, citing section 812 of the German civil code, which states that “those who gain at the expense of another […] are obliged to make restitution”.

A spokesman for Eventim tells IQ the company does intend to appeal the court’s “materially incorrect” ruling.

 


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