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MGA Entertainment Inc. has replaced its lawyer in a $10.2 million billing dispute against O’Melveny & Myers with Jennifer Keller, the attorney who successfully represented the Bratz doll manufacturer in a high-profile trial against Mattel Inc. Keller, of Keller Rackauckas, and Edmond Connor, managing partner of Connor, Fletcher & Williams, both in Irvine, Calif., will replace James Rosen of Rosen Saba in Beverly Hills, Calif., according to a Sept. 14 court filing. Rosen did not respond to a request for comment. MGA said on Sept. 14 that it had retained Keller as its lead trial lawyer against O’Melveny and that Connor and Matthew Fletcher, another lawyer at Connor’s firm, would handle the day-to-day management of the case. “Jennifer Keller did an outstanding job in defeating Mattel, and I have every confidence she will serve MGA just as well in this case,” Connor said in a news release issued by MGA. Keller stepped in as lead trial counsel for the Mattel trial, in which a federal jury on April 21 awarded $88.5 million in damages after finding that the Barbie maker had stolen trade secrets by planting spies at industry trade shows. The jury rejected Mattel’s claims that it owned the copyright to the Bratz dolls but awarded the company $10,000 in damages after finding that MGA and its chief executive officer, Isaac Larian, had interfered with Mattel’s contract with the Bratz doll designer, Carter Bryant, who had left Mattel for MGA. U.S. District Judge David Carter in Santa Ana, Calif., reduced the verdict to $85 million to correct a mathematical error but on Aug. 4 gave MGA an additional $85 million in exemplary damages, $109 million in attorney fees and $32 million in costs. Mattel has said it plans to appeal the judgment. In the Mattel case, which originated in 2004, MGA went through multiple law firms, including Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and O’Melveny & Myers. Last year, O’Melveny & Myers sued MGA over $10.2 million in unpaid bills. MGA fired back with allegations of malpractice against its former firm, which was involved in the case from 2004 to 2007. Specifically, MGA brought cross-claims alleging that O’Melveny botched the transition to Skadden just before the first trial against Mattel began. In 2008, a federal jury awarded Mattel $100 million, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit overturned that verdict. MGA dropped those claims on Aug. 26, after O’Melveny & Myers moved for sanctions on the ground that MGA had failed to provide the discovery material it needed to defend against the malpractice accusations. A hearing on the sanctions request, which Los Angeles County, Calif., Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White has not ruled on, was scheduled for Sept. 21. Keller and Connor both are past presidents of the Orange County Bar Association. Before launching his own firm, Conner, a general litigator, opened the Orange County office of Morrison & Foerster in 1988. Amanda Bronstad can be contacted at [email protected].

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