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After Reversal-of-Fortune Win, Bratz Doll Maker Seeks $130M in Legal Fees

Posted May 25, 2011 9:54 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Corrected: After a stunning turnaround win in a copyright case, Bratz doll manufacturer MGA Entertainment is seeking nearly $130 million in legal fees.

U.S. District Judge David Carter of Los Angeles will hold a hearing today on MGA’s claim for $177 million in punitive damages, along with restitution, attorney fees and costs, report Thomson Reuters News & Insight and the National Law Journal. In all, MGA is seeking about $440 million, an amount that includes compensatory and punitive damages, Thomson Reuters says.

The request follows MGA’s $88.5 million win on a counterclaim last month after its $100 million loss in an earlier trial was overturned on appeal.

Mattel Inc. had claimed copyright infringement, alleging MGA’s Bratz doll designer had thought of the concept while working at Mattel. For its part, MGA had claimed Mattel engaged in a toy-spying conspiracy. In the retrial, jurors ruled against Mattel on the copyright claim and for MGA on the stolen trade secrets claim, the NLJ says.

“Putting up with MGA,” Thomson Reuters writes, “is no picnic” for its lawyers. Two firms—O’Melveny & Myers and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom—split with MGA. O'Melveny then sued for unpaid fees and MGA countersued for malpractice, according to a Legal Intelligencer article at the time. Next MGA had disagreements with a third firm that “pulled off a miracle” on appeal: Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, spurring Orrick to seek withdrawal, without success, the story says. Orrick and Keller Rackauckas handled the retrial.

Orrick is seeking to withdraw in a related case filed for MGA on the ground that its client has not paid legal fees, Thomson Reuters says.

Story updated at 5:20 a.m. on May 27 to add information about O'Melveny's fee suit and to eliminate the article's assertion that MGA's law firms were fired or almost fired. A spokeswoman for O'Melveny says the firm withdrew and was not fired. Also, the original Thomson Reuters article has been changed; it no longer says MGA tried to fire Orrick.

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