Poppy Montgomery, formerly the lead actress on CBS’s Without a Trace, currently holds the lead role on TV’s Unforgettable, a crime-drama in which Montgomery’s character, Carrie Wells, is a police detective with a rare disorder which allows her to remember anything she has ever seen or heard in her lifetime. With the recent drama in her life, one can only assume Montgomery wishes she had her character’s talent in real life.
According to the United Talent Agency (UTA), Montgomery and the agency reached a verbal agreement in 2010 in which Montgomery agreed to pay 10 percent of all incomes and other monies to the agency in return for their help in finding her a role on a television series. UTA credits itself for landing the role of Carrie Wells for Montgomery, a service for which UTA states Montgomery has never paid the agency.
The court complaint against Montgomery reads:
UTA represented Montgomery as an actor beginning August 2010, during which time UTA negotiated a lucrative deal for her to perform on the hit television series Unforgettable (the “Show”). Montgomery appeared on the Show since the first season in 2011, and continues to appear in the Show, which will soon be airing its third season. Montgomery paid commissions due to UTA through and including season one of the Show, and then, for no reason whatsoever, suddenly stopped making payments. Montgomery has not only turned her back on the people who helped her career, but on her contractual obligations to those people.
— TMZ (@TMZ) June 24, 2014
In their negotiations to land Montgomery the role on Unforgettable, UTA managed to score a $90,000 salary per episode for Montgomery for season one, a $93,000 salary per episode for season two, and a $97,340 salary per episode for season three. If UTA was to earn a 10 percent commission on all of these figures, it would be worth $248,222, the amount for which they are suing Montgomery.
Montgomery and her attorneys do not agree with the claims made by UTA, however. In a statement released by a representative, Montgomery’s counsel stated:
The UTA claim is ridiculous. Poppy never had an agreement with UTA. Poppy was at UTA because of one agent, and had absolutely no relationship with anyone else there. When that agent left, no one at UTA offered to continue representation, to find her work, or to service her deal on Unforgettable. Poppy remains with and loyal to her original agent. Poppy has relationships of over 20 years with her manager and business manager and has had a relationship of over 10 years with her lawyer. She is extremely loyal and fair to everyone who has contributed to her career.
The agent in question is Ruthanne Secunda, who left UTA in December 2012 to work at ICM Partners, the agency for which Montgomery currently works.
When one looks at the case details, it is fairly apparent that UTA is trying to capitalize on a lost opportunity. Unforgettable is set to begin its third season this summer, and UTA should have enough sense to know that a verbal agreement is not going to hold up in court.
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