Phillip Phillips’ Petition Moves Forward Despite American Idol Producer’s Bankruptcy

by San Antonio Attorney

Phillip Phillips won the latest round of the complicated legal battle between him and the American Idol producer.

U.S.  Bankruptcy Judge Stuart Bernstein decided to postpone an adversary proceeding between 19 Entertainment and Phillips, while waiting for a ruling by the California Labor Commission on a clash concerning the Talent Agencies Act.

Phillips filed a petition with the Labor Commissioner in January 2015, accusing the show’s producer and its affiliated companies of manipulating him into accepting jobs.  The petition is centered on California’s Talent Agencies Act, which states that procurement of employment can only be carried out by accredited talent agents.  In addition, Phillips claims the producer violated its fiduciary duty by concealing material facts and conducting self-dealings.

In case Phillips eventually escapes his contracts as a breach of the TAA, it would create tremors through the music industry, possibly affecting not just other stars of American Idol but also other reality TV contests.

After Phillips filed his petition, more legal issues have arisen from the dispute.

Michael McDonald and Mick Management, which is a music managing firm, has been sued by 19 Entertainment in September 2015 accusing McDonald of unceremoniously duping Phillips into trying to cut his connection with 19 and that ultimately led to the petition.

In 2016, more complications have folded.  19 Entertainment sought for bankruptcy protection in April and filed sued Phillips in June.  The producer is seeking $6 million in damages for Phillips’ violation of contract with 19.

The CLC petition was put off in April “until further notice” anchored in the supposition that the issues brought up in the petition would be discharged or adjudicated by the bankruptcy court.  Phillips requested the bankruptcy court to implement its discretion to desist from the adversary proceeding since it is tied up with the TAA matters and the Labor Commissioner holds “exclusive and original jurisdiction.”

Bernstein asserted that the issues concerning the Talent Agencies Act are prevalent.

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