Now we know why MGA keeps dragging Mattel back into a Santa Ana federal court that has already awarded the Bratz doll maker $310 million for damages, attorney fees and other court costs associated with a seven-year, back-and-forth battle with the larger company known for Barbie dolls.
MGA's insurers have filed court documents asserting they deserve a cut of that award, too.
The original MGA-Mattel dispute was over copyright and trade secrets, and over the past seven years trial court and appellate decisions went both companies' ways.
When the smoke cleared, a Santa Ana jury had awarded the Bratz maker $85 million, and U.S. District Judge David Carter tacking on another $85 million in exemplary damages. MGA then asked Carter to award $200 million for its attorneys, of which $70 million was to go to “net of insurance reimbursements.” Carter settled on $137 million in attorneys' fees and other costs.
MGA then sought $1 billion from Mattel through an anti-trust lawsuit that Carter promptly tossed like a little girl discarding a Barbie missing her head.
Naturally, because this goddamn case will never end, Mattel has appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where the matter is pending
MGA's insurers, which include Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance and National Union Fire Insurance Cos., then filed their paperwork in Carter's court seeking $80 million from the attorneys fee award.
In a rare display of unity in this divisive case, MGA and Mattel jointly asked Carter to deny the motion on grounds that there is an appeal of the whole thing pending. Carter agreed the insurers' motion was untimely, saying it would take a separate lawsuit to address their claims.
So, on June 13, the insurers sued MGA, and if Carter thought he was going to be able to ride off in the pink Barbie car to escape this dollhouse nightmare, he was sadly mistaken.
The insurer's suit was assigned to Carter's court.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.