Marathon Entm’t, Inc. v. Blasi, 42 Cal. 4th 974 (2008)

Marathon Entertainment and Rosa Blasi entered into an oral contract by which Marathon would serve as Blasi’s personal manager in exchange for 15% of Blasi’s earnings from entertainment employment obtained during the course of the contract. Marathon sued Blasi after she reneged on her agreement to pay 15% of her earnings to Marathon. Blasi obtained a stay of the action and filed a petition with the Labor Commissioner alleging that Marathon had violated the Talent Agencies Act by soliciting and procuring employment for Blasi without a talent agency license. The Labor Commissioner agreed with Blasi, voided the parties’ contract and barred Marathon from recovery. Marathon appealed the Labor Commissioner’s ruling to the superior court for a trial de novo where Blasi’s motion for summary judgment was granted. The court of appeal reversed in part, holding that under the law of severability of contracts, it was possible that Blasi’s obligation to pay Marathon could be severed from any unlawful parts of the management agreement. The California Supreme Court agreed and affirmed the appellate court’s judgment, remanding the action for further proceedings.