Judge Sides with MGA in Mattel Dispute


Rivals Mattel Inc. and MGA Entertainment Inc. are set to battle another round in their long-running dispute over the Bratz fashion dolls, after a federal judge ruled that a new trial in the case should proceed.

The judge confirmed earlier rulings by other courts that $100 million in damages awarded to Mattel after a 2008 jury trial should be vacated, and granted MGA’s request for a new trial. The trial is set for Jan. 11.

The order, made Friday but not released until this week, is in line with a July ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In that unanimous decision, Chief Judge Alex Kosinki said that “a significant portion – if not all – of the 2008 jury verdict and damage award should be vacated, and the entire case will probably need to retired.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco last month denied Mattel’s petition for rehearing and review by a larger panel of judges.

In Friday’s order, U.S. District Court Judge David Carter found that the judge in the case made numerous errors during the trial, including two that “were central, significant, pervasive, and likely determinative of the outcome” of the trial.

MGA of Van Nuys released a statement Monday applauding Carter’s order.

The company said it is confident that it will prevail in the upcoming trial, but its gratitude is “tempered by the heartache and financial devastation that MGA and its employees have been forced to endure, including the hundreds of MGA employees and their families who lost their jobs through layoffs.”

Mattel of El Segundo didn’t immediately return a request seeking comment.

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