The federal trial in Riverside over what company rightfully owns the Bratz doll franchise – Mattel or MGA entertainment – features two heavyweight litigators who can be tenacious about most every aspect of a case, including where their legal team is housed. So it was that Skadden’s Tom Nolan, who is representing Bratz maker MGA, had the Mission Inn sign a contract barring Quinn Emanuel's John Quinn, who is representing Mattel, from booking any rooms. Nolan apparently had concerns about case file boxes or faxes being accidentally delivered to opposing counsel’s rooms. Quinn asked District Judge Stephen Larson, who is presiding over the Bratz trial, to deem the contract unenforceable. Larson declined to get involved (wise judge). From the WSJ's Law Blog:
In a conference with Larson, Nolan said, lawyers representing the Mission Inn pointed out that there was “an exception to the exclusionary contract” that gave Quinn & Co. the option of booking rooms at the Mission through a travel agent, but not directly through the inn. “It didn’t prevent us from staying” at the hotel, said Quinn. Quinn said he and most members of his team opted instead to register at the nearby Riverside Marriott, but half a dozen of his colleagues ended up with rooms at the Mission Inn. He said he opted for the Marriott ($149-$350/night) because it had more amenities for trial preparation and was “less expensive” than the Mission Inn ($215-$2,000/night).
The Law Blog received a bunch of comments on the skirmish. Among them:
--Wow, “$149-$35/night [sic]” for a room at the marriott? where do i sign up?
--All I have to say is THIS is the reason why people don’t like lawyers. Instead of being civil, professional and courteous, these nasty people have to fight about hotel rooms. What happened to professionally litigating your case on the merits, and being civil and courteous to the opposing side? This tells me that these guys have self-esteem and ego issues. I hate nasty lawyers like this. You give us all a bad name.
--John’s a totally nice guy. Just not as a lawyer. Have him over for dinner and he’s incredibly charming. Ditto for the workplace. It’s a role thing, my friend. Lots of lawyers have similarly split personalities.
--I just pay the front desk clerk cash to send opposing counsel’s boxes to my room first.
--Both of these attorneys have lost all sense of professionalism. Stay at the same hotel and if you accidentally get delivered the wrong boxes that are obviously NOT ADDRESSED TO YOU, how about returning them to the other side? These attorneys need to get a life and a sense of perspective again.
Actually, some of the lawyers, including Quinn, have been trying to commute back and forth from L.A. The story was broken by the Daily Journal.