Manager Catfight Ensues with Reagan Daughter

Manager and legal precedent advocate Rick Siegel is backing personal manager Judy Coppage in her fight with Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis over a lawsuit about whether Coppage tried to get Davis a screenwriting job.pattidavis.jpg

Siegel has been fighting this good fight, first for himself, now for any managers like Coppage who attempt to represent writers, directors and actors though they’re not allowed by an antiquated state restriction that prevents managers from procuring work — even though hundreds of managers exist in Los Angeles all the time by getting work for clients.

Below are the details regarding Coppage and Patti Davis:

Personal Manager Claims Davis’ Effort Is Unconstitutional

Patti Davis, the daughter of President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis Reagan, has petitioned the California Labor Commission (“CLC”) to void a personal management contract claiming her personal manager unlawfully tried to procure screenwriting work for her without the required state talent agency license.

In documents filed Thursday asking for a dismissal of Davis’ petition, Los Angeles based personal manager Judy Coppage argues that the effort to impair the manager/client contract is unconstitutional. Coppage’s claims mirror the arguments currently at issue in a case currently being heard at a Federal Court of Appeal and in at least one other Labor Commission dispute.

While several constitutional issues are raised, Coppage’s claims centers on the lack of statutory notice inside the Talent Agencies Act (“TAA”) explaining what the consequences of procuring without a license can be, rendering such enforcement unconstitutionally vague.
Davis filed her petition on October 15, 2008, after Coppage initiated a small claims complaint seeking $4,355.31 after Davis refused to pay 10% on residual commissions due for the made for TV movie, “Sacrifices of the Heart.”

The TAA was created as a shield to stop talent representatives from taking advantage of young artists with neither the understanding nor experience to otherwise protect themselves. Personal managers have long contended that instead it is used as a sword to avoid paying otherwise owed commissions by many of the industry’s most established professionals: Jennifer Lopez, Cher, Thomas Hayden Church, Bo Derek, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mickey Rooney, and among others, Jewel.

Recently, over two hundred personal managers submitted letters to Angela Bradstreet, Californi’s Labor Commissioner, asking her to stop enforcing the Act until and unless the State’s Legislature clarified just who it wanted to regulate, the activity it wanted to limit to licensees, and what the consequences would be for engaging in the prohibited activity. The letters were also forwarded to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Neither the Commissioner nor Governor has yet to reply.

Though the amount in dispute in the Davis case is not significant, the matter may have a far-reaching impact. Many personal managers believe statutes created to protect those with no understanding of how Hollywood works being used by the daughter of a former president of the Screen Actor’s Guild, former governor of California and 40th President of the United States proves how the laws have been wrongfully and unconstitutionally bastardized.

Over the last four decades, it is estimated that the State Labor Commission has voided over $250,000,000 in personal management commissions; a ruling that the enforcement is unconstitutional would put an end to such compromises.