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Veteran agent wins right to exit ICM

August 14, 2007|Lorenza Munoz | Times Staff Writer

Veteran talent agent Ed Limato, whose clients include Denzel Washington and Mel Gibson, has won an arbitration hearing with his agency, ICM, allowing him to depart with his clients.

Limato, who was suddenly demoted from co-president last month as part of the agency's management restructuring, wanted to be released from his contract three years before it expired.

Retired state judge Diane Wayne ruled Monday that Limato was free to leave. She required the agency to pay Limato's attorney fees.

"I'm delirious with joy," Limato said. "I'm so thankful to my lawyers but most of all to my clients, who have been so steadfastly loyal throughout this rather ugly process. I am looking forward to continuing with my career for as long as I can in a place that is best for me and my clients."

In a statement, ICM said it disagreed with the arbitrator's decision, which it said was "based solely on a technical interpretation" of state labor law. But, it added, "we wish Ed continued success in the next phase of his career."

It is the company's second legal loss this year. In March, a federal judge ruled that literary agent Richard Abate could leave ICM for rival Endeavor.

The current shake-up follows last summer's departure of former head of television and partner Nancy Josephson. Josephson was picked up by Endeavor as was Robert Newman, who left ICM this year with his list of top film directors.

lorenza.munoz@latimes.com

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