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MGA Entertainment Inc., which won an $88.5 million verdict against Mattel Inc. earlier this year, should receive $108 million in attorney fees, according to a discovery master’s recommendation that was revealed in court documents in the case on July 6. The recommendation was issued on June 20 by Robert O’Brien, who is acting as special master, and filed under seal. Court documents filed by both sides regarding the proposed attorney fees had been redacted to hide the amounts, but on June 30, U.S. District Judge David Carter denied all requests made since April 25 to file documents under seal, many of which related to the special master’s recommendation. MGA, manufacturer of the Bratz doll, is seeking $129 million in attorney fees and $32 million in costs after a jury found that Mattel, maker of Barbie, had stolen trade secrets from MGA by planting spies to industry trade shows. The jury rejected Mattel’s assertion that MGA had infringed on its copyright by stealing away a designer who took the Bratz doll concept with him, concluding that Mattel did not own the rights to the first four models of the Bratz dolls plus two newer versions. The jury sided with Mattel on one issue: They awarded damages of $10,000 after finding that MGA and its chief executive officer, Isaac Larian, intentionally interfered with the contract between Mattel and the designer, Carter Bryant. Mattel has picked apart much of the discovery master’s recommendation, which did not address MGA’s costs. Mattel also wants more than 9,000 pages of billing invoices that MGA turned over to the discovery master in order to oppose the fee recommendation. Depriving Mattel of those documents “would be a miscarriage of justice and a deprivation of due process,” wrote Mattel’s lawyer, Michael Zeller, a partner at Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan. Larian and MGA spokeswoman Susan Hale did not respond to a request for comment. According to Mattel’s documents, the discovery master recommended that MGA receive $84.7 million in fees associated with defending Mattel’s copyright infringement claim and $23.4 million related to pursuing the trade secrets claims. Mattel disputed that MGA should be compensated for “every dime” that Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom ever billed MGA in the case — about $61 million. The New York firm represented MGA in the first trial in the case in which a jury in 2008 awarded Mattel $100 million in damages. Last month, Skadden replaced Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in a related copyright infringement case brought by a New York artist who claims he created the Bratz doll. Orrick, which also represented MGA in its second trial against Mattel, moved to withdraw from the case, citing MGA’s failure to pay $1.2 million in attorney fees. In a June 14 press release announcing that Skadden would replace Orrick in that case, Larian indicated that Skadden partners Thomas Nolan and Jason Russell had been working behind the scenes on the Mattel case all along. Mattel also questioned whether MGA should receive $11 million in fees for O’Melveny & Myers, which has sued its former client for $10.2 million in unpaid legal fees. That case, in which MGA has accused O’Melveny of overbilling, is pending in Los Angeles County, Calif., Superior Court, Mattel says. In a July 8 filing, Mattel noted that special master O’Brien’s firm, Arent Fox, recently hired Stephen Larson, who heard the first trial in the case while serving as a federal judge in Riverside, Calif. Such a move “creates an appearance of impropriety” at a minimum, Mattel said in court documents. O’Brien had no comment. In separate motions, MGA is asking for another $177 million in punitive damages tied to the trade secrets claims under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Amanda Bronstad can be contacted at [email protected].

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