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February 20, 2009

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RICK SIEGEL

This is just another chink into the rotting armor of the Talent Agencies Act.

“Engrained in our concept of due process is the requirement of notice. Notice is sometimes essential so that the citizen has the chance to defend charges. Notice is required before property interests are disturbed, before assessments are made, before penalties are assessed.” Lambert v. California, 355 U.S. 225 (1957).

Penalty provisions must state with sufficient clarity consequences of violating a statute in order to satisfy the constitutional requirements. United States v. Helmy, 951 F.2d 988, 993 (9th Circuit 1991).

“Where a statute fails to provide a penalty it has been uniformly held that it is beyond the power of the court to prescribe a penalty.” State v. Fair Lawn Service Center, Inc., 120 A.2d 233, 236 (N.J. 1956).

“Elementary notions of fairness enshrined in this Court's
constitutional jurisprudence dictate that a person receive fair notice not only of the conduct that will subject him to punishment but also of the severity of the penalty that a State may impose.” BMW of America v Gore, 517 U.S. 559 (1995).

The Talent Agencies Act has no statute providing notice of the severity of penalty the State can impose. Thus, the meting out of penalties -- any penalty, stands against the clearly established law delineated by the above precedents.

And per Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution, “No State shall enter into any …
Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.” And when substantial impairments are found and challenged, the State or state agency that has impaired the contract must be able to show a significant and legitimate public purpose behind the regulation and show that the adjustment of the contracting parties’ rights and responsibilities of a character appropriate to the public purpose justifying the legislation's adoption.” Energy Reserves Corp. v Kansas P&L, 459 US 400, 412 (1983) quoting U.S. Trust Co. v New Jersey, 431 US 1, 22 (1997).

The only way to justify an adjudicator’s impairing contractual rights is when there is an adopted statute to justify and here there is none, so the voiding the manager's right to contract was unconstitutional.

Mr. Blanks should have been forced to pay all of his debt to his former manager, Mr. Greenfield, only the Labor Commissions unconstitutional enforcement let him off the hook. Hopefully Seyfarth Shaw will use these constitutional arguments to show that no matter how good or bad the lawyering was, Blanks got a better deal than justified, and therefore no more money deserves to change hands.

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