Monday, February 7, 2011

Bratz Sues Mattel For $1 Billion Over Barbie Doll Wars...While Congress Debates A $250K Cap In Medical Malpractice Cases

I couldn't make this up if I tried. Looks like Barbie is about to be hauled back into court in the latest nauseating sequel of a never ending legal war pitting Mattel versus the maker of the rival "Bratz" doll. I wrote about the original "Barbie v. Bratz" legal skirmish ("Doll Wars") here. Round one went to Mattel/Barbie, which was awarded a $100 million jury verdict against MGA/Bratz because MGA misappropriated ideas for doll designs from Mattel.

Well, get ready for "Doll Wars II-Bratz Girls Strike Back." According to Courthouse News Service, MGA/Bratz is now suing Mattel for $1 billion, claiming violations of Antitrust laws and other evil corporate misdeeds. According to the lawsuit:

The Barbie doll was so threatened by the success of the Bratz doll that Mattel launched an abusive campaign to "Kill Bratz," violating antitrust laws and suing MGA Entertainment "to death," MGA claims in Federal Court. So virulent was the attack, MGA claims, that Mattel used industrial spies with false IDs, intimidated and threatened Bratz vendors, and "spread press releases that Bratz sexualizes girls and that Bratz dolls say the 'F' word (which they do not)."

Did I mention that nobody could really make up this stuff? What's more, MGA alleges that Mattel spent $270 MILLION in attorneys fees to destroy MGA and "kill Bratz" with a scorched earth litigation strategy.

I couldn't help but juxtapose the latest Doll Wars legal skirmish against the latest push in Congress to limit malpractice victims' recovery to $250,000. So let's juxtapose, shall we? Never ending billion dollar lawsuits, and $270 million in attorneys fees dedicated to denigrating plastic dolls that carry neat little outfits and that may or may not throw F bombs. Meanwhile, if a doctor mistakenly removes a woman's non-cancerous breast, or a hospital mistakenly overdoses a child and renders her comatose, either's lifetime of misery is liquidated to $250K.

What do we call this current state of affairs? The way things ought to be, according to The Chamber Of Commerce. After all, we need to reign in malpractice lawsuits and all those predatory lawyers, right? But when it comes to corporations hiring armies of lawyers to sue each other into oblivion, we need a robust, hands off legal system so businesses can fully enforce their contract and property rights. Sounds great if there's an "Inc." after your name. But for all you "ordinary folk" out there who fall victim to malpractice, you need to sacrifice your rights and your recovery for the collective good of society. Consider your diluted legal rights an act of patriotism that will create jobs. This is what The Chamber is selling right now with the $250K cap that Congress is considering.

No word yet on whether Barbie or any of The Bratz Girls will testify at trial. My advice is to avoid the skimpy outfits, wear muted colors, and avoid the F bombs when taking the stand. I'm sure both of them will get their days (or should I say years) in court. Malpractice victims? The line from an old Wendy's commercial comes to mind: "Step aside."

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