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Marathon Entertainment, Inc. v. Blasi

42 Cal. 4th 974 (2008)

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Marathon Entertainment, Inc. v. Blasi

California Supreme Court

42 Cal. 4th 974 (2008)

Facts

Actress Rosa Blasi (defendant) entered into an oral contract with Marathon Entertainment, Inc. (Marathon) (plaintiff) for Marathon to act as Blasi’s personal manager. Pursuant to this relationship, Marathon made several attempts to procure employment for Blasi. Blasi secured a lead role in the TV series Strong Medicine, after which she reduced Marathon’s commission from 15 percent to 10 percent and then terminated the contract altogether. Marathon brought suit to recover unpaid commissions as a personal manager in connection with Blasi’s Strong Medicine role. Blasi obtained a stay of the action and filed a petition with the labor commissioner. Blasi alleged that Marathon had violated the Talent Agencies Act by procuring professional engagements for Blasi—an activity limited to licensed agents, as opposed to managers—thus voiding the entire contract between Blasi and Marathon. The labor commissioner agreed. Marathon appealed, and the case went back to court. The trial court granted summary judgment for Blasi and voided the contract. Marathon appealed. The appellate court found that Blasi had failed to prove that Marathon had illegally procured the Strong Medicine job. The appellate court further reasoned that severability of contracts applied, allowing Marathon to recover commissions for services rendered lawfully under the contract. The California Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Werdegar, J.)

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