August 13, 2008 / 12:28 AM / 11 years ago

Appeals court rejects halt to Mattel-MGA Bratz case

Bratz dolls and a Barbie Doll (C) are seen at the Dream Toys 2004 exhibition in London, October 6, 2004. U.S. appeals court on Tuesday declined to intervene to stop Mattel Inc's trial against Bratz doll maker MGA Entertainment Inc over ownership of the popular doll franchise after a juror made ethnic slurs against MGA's chief executive and founder. REUTERS/Stephen Hird SH/ASA/acm

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday declined to intervene to stop Mattel Inc’s trial against Bratz doll maker MGA Entertainment Inc over ownership of the popular doll franchise after a juror made ethnic slurs against MGA’s chief executive and founder.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a two-page opinion that privately held MGA had “not demonstrated that this case warrants the intervention of this court” in its petition for an emergency stay.

The jury awarded Mattel ownership of dozens of concept drawings and models in the first phase of the trial before the juror’s comments came to light and she was excused by the judge. The same panel is hearing testimony in a damages phase that is expected to conclude on Friday.

MGA attorneys had argued in an emergency petition filed on Thursday that deliberations in the first phase of the trial had been tainted by the juror’s remarks and that the family-owned company faced ruin if Mattel won the $1 billion-plus in damages it is seeking.

Mattel and its attorneys were not available for comment. An attorney for MGA could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Gina Keating; Editing by Gary Hill, Richard Chang

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