For those readers who may have missed the latest episode in the long-running legal soap-opera, Bryant v. Mattel Inc., we provide the following summary.
When we last saw the parties (see our previous blog, Pass the Popcorn), they were hurling insults and accusations at each other in preparation for the second trial in their seven year (yes 7 YEARS) battle over ownership of the Bratz line of dolls. The first trial had ended with a decision in favor of Mattel and an award of $100 million in damages. Having garnered such high audience ratings, the folks of MGA Entertainment chose to keep the show running and appealed. The appellate court granted them a new trial, which brings us to the latest episode.
After a trial highlighted by such comic antics as Isaac Larian, the president of MGA, and his attorney asserting that magnets in Mattel toys killed children, the jury returned a verdict in favor of MGA, awarding it custody of the little Bratz. They also found that Mattel had “willfully and maliciously” committed 26 trade secrets violations and awarded MGA $3.4 million in damages for each (for the mathematically challenged, that comes to $88.4 million). MGA, which had alleged 114 such violations, professed disappointment at this paltry result. Laying the groundwork for a new subplot for future episodes, the jury went on to award Mattel $10,000 in damages for interference with contractual relations “of MGA and Larian.”
Mattel announced that it was “disappointed with the verdict” and filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law as to the 26 trade secrets violations, while MGA filed a motion seeking the addition of punitive damages for this heinous conduct.
The action then moved to the courthouse corridor, where Cameron Larian, Isaac’s teenage son, appealing to the younger audience demographic – accused Mattel of hiring “goons” to follow him and his family and harass him at school. Mattel’s female attorneys – appealing to the female and dirty-old-men demographics – replied that Isaac had called them “sluts” and advised them to come to work “half-naked.” That brought the show to a close.
Audiences will, however, be happy to learn that the series may continue. Mattel has filed a motion for a new trial.