Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 5/24/2011 12:33:00 PM

Bratz Doll Trial Victor Seeks $130 Million in Attorneys' Fees, $177 Million in Punitive Damages and $32 Million in Costs

By Todd

That's right, folks - Bloomberg is reporting that the victorious MGA Entertainment, Inc. is seeking post-trial amplification of their victory by seeking $130 million in attorneys' fees, $177 million in punitive damages and $32 million more in compensable "costs."

Let's focus on this punitive damages request for a moment. The jury was convinced that Mattel (the maker of the less-bratty Barbie doll) employees and agents used deceptive means (we understand these to be phony, falsified business cards such that Mattel could review MGA's new doll offerings at toy shows). According to Bloomberg the jurors "awarded MGA $3.4 million for each of the 26 instances in which they found that Mattel had misappropriated a trade secret."

The question now becomes whether the court (not the jury) is convinced that Mattel acted "willfully and maliciously" is misappropriating those secrets. We are not sure but we surmise that Mattel is arguing that the trebling of the damages found by the jury compounds the error made by the jury in awarding compensatory damages in the first place. The compensatory methodology the jury used (e.g., $3.4 million times each of the 26 instances of fraudulent entry into MGA's space during the toy shows) is likely something Mattel is going to ask to have set aside. As such, Mattel is surely asking the judge to consider the post-trial JNOV or remittitur request BEFORE getting to MGA's trebling request.

Mattel's argument is likely to be that the jury's methodology was not a compensatory methodology at all - how could it be that at each of those reported 26 discrete trade shows MGA was damaged by Mattel's fraudulent entry and review in the exact same amount? Mattel will likely argue that the jury wasn't "compensating" MGA at all -but, instead, punishing Mattel on its own. As most of you know, the punitive damages for trade secret theft are left to the judge, not the jury.

We'll keep an eye on this one for you - and wonder with you: how much work did how many people do to generate $130 million in attorneys' fees?


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