August 26, 2008

No Punitive Damages Awarded in Bratz Trial

Mattel's lawsuit against MGA Entertainment, Inc., the maker of Bratz dolls, has been widely covered in the media. In case you missed it, Mattel claims that former employer Carter Bryant conceived the idea for the Bratz dolls and prepared the initial sketches for the dolls while he was still working for Mattel, before he took his idea and sketches to MGA. Last month, a jury ruled in Mattel's favor in the liability phase of the trial.

In the damages phase, Mattel sought nearly $2 billion in compensatory damages plus an additional award of punitive damages. Today the jury returned a verdict awarding $100 million in compensatory damages and no punitives.

UPDATE: Everyone agrees that the jury awarded no punitive damages, but reporters are having a very difficult time figuring out exactly how much the jury awarded in compensatory damages. Reuters says $100 million. AP (via the Washington Post) is calling it $40 million. Either way, it's a far cry from the $2B that Mattel was hoping for.

UPDATE #2: This story on the Huffington Post explains the discrepancy in the media reports. The jury apparently awarded damages totaling $100 million, including three awards of $30 million on three related causes of action plus another $10 million on another cause of action. MGA contends the three $30 million awards on the related claims are duplicative, and is asking the trial court to reduce the total award to no more than $40 million.

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