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A federal judge has granted Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s motion to withdraw from representing MGA Entertainment Inc., maker of the Bratz doll, in its copyright dispute with Mattel Inc. The Oct. 19 order, issued by U.S. District Judge David Carter in Santa Ana, Calif., marked the second time that Orrick has fired MGA. On June 16, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin of New York approved a request by MGA and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to replace Orrick in a related case. Again, Orrick had cited unpaid bills in moving to withdraw. Orrick spokesman David Schaefer declined to comment, and MGA spokeswoman Susan Hale did not respond to a request for comment. On Sept. 23, Orrick moved to withdraw from representing MGA and its chief executive, Isaac Larian, citing $3.85 million in unpaid legal fees and other compensation associated with the Mattel case. According to the motion, MGA had agreed to pay a monthly fixed amount of $550,000 beginning in December 2010 and to turn over its insurance payouts to cover legal fees, costs and expenses. Instead, the motion said, MGA has paid Orrick’s fees only twice — in January and March — and has not turned over insurance proceeds since May 2011. In addition, MGA owes at least $287,000 for outstanding costs and expenses, the motion said. Carter, who had scheduled an Oct. 24 hearing on Orrick’s motion, issued his order without hearing oral arguments. Orrick began representing MGA in May 2009, soon after a federal jury awarded Mattel $100 million in damages over the Bratz doll copyright. Orrick’s legal team appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which reversed the verdict, prompting a retrial. On April 21, a federal jury awarded MGA $88.5 million in damages, finding that Mattel did not own the copyright to the Bratz doll and that its executives, instead, stole MGA’s trade secrets by planting spies at industry trade shows. On Aug. 4, Carter issued a $310 million judgment for MGA that included the verdict, $109 million in attorney fees and $32 million in costs. Mattel has indicated that it plans to appeal. According to Orrick’s motion, the agreement between Orrick and MGA required that all unpaid fees and costs became due 60 days following the judgment, which would have been Oct. 3. MGA had no plans to pay the unpaid amounts to Orrick and has filed an arbitration action against the firm for more than $10 million, rendering a relationship impossible, the motion said. Orrick has retained Frank Cialone of San Francisco’s Shartsis Friese in the billing dispute. MGA’s counsel is Matthew Fletcher, a partner at Connor, Fletcher & Williams. Fletcher is on a legal team for MGA that reached a tentative settlement with another former law firm in the Mattel case, O’Melveny & Myers. That team includes Edmond Connor, managing partner of Connor, Fletcher & Williams in Irvine, Calif., and Jennifer Keller of Keller Rackauckas, also of Irvine. O’Melveny, which represented MGA from 2004 to 2007, had sued MGA for $10.2 million in unpaid legal bills. On Oct. 3, the parties filed a stipulation for settlement, the details of which were not disclosed. Contact Amanda Bronstad at [email protected].

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