A juror in that closely watched trial involving Mattel and MGA Entertainment has been dismissed for making an inappropriate ethnic comment against MGA CEO Isaac Larian during deliberations (Larian is Jewish and an Iranian immigrant). Valley-based MGA has asked for a mistrial. The juror was part of the panel that ruled in favor of Mattel in the intellectual property case. Mattel claimed that early sketches of the Bratz doll were the property of Mattel. The mistrial motion will be heard August 4 – and friends, there’s some seriously big money at stake. From the WSJ:
Both companies said the matter arose after a juror informed Judge Larson that a fellow juror had made the comments during deliberations that led to last week's verdict. The jurors were in court Friday, after beginning consideration earlier this week of the second phase of the trial to set damages. MGA lawyers said the jury has 10 members and no alternatives.
From Bloomberg: The juror's comments appear to have been made before the verdict in the trial's first phase and didn't affect the jury's decision, according to U.S. District Judge Stephen Larsonral's tentative finding. "Parties come to this court seeking justice from impartial jurors, and to see ethnic bias played out in a case like this is a wound to the soul," MGA lawyer Thomas Nolan said outside the courtroom. "We will be making a motion for a mistrial." In the trial's second phase, Mattel is seeking damages.
*Update: Mattel attorney John Quinn had this statement:
Nine honest, unbiased, hardworking jurors ruled unanimously in favor of Mattel. The court found that their verdict was not affected by the inappropriate comment of juror #8. Indeed, several of the nine jurors rebuked juror #8, and were justifiably appalled by her remarks. Some claimed that, if anything, the remark made them wonder if they should exercise bias in favor of MGA in response. That would be a natural reaction of a right thinking person. These nine jurors reached an unbiased, fair and just verdict under the governing law. That verdict will stand.