WASHINGTON (JTA) — Several Jewish and Iranian American groups joined the maker of Bratz dolls in appealing its case with Mattel.
MGA Entertainment and the groups believe a mistrial was warranted in the copyright infringement trial because a juror was dismissed for expressing racist views during deliberations over damages.
The Anti-Defamation League, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, the Iranian American Jewish Federation and the Iranian American Bar Association filed an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief July 21 with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of MGA Entertainment’s appeal, The National Law Journal reported.
A juror in the case between Mattel Inc., the maker of Barbie dolls, and MGA Entertainment was dismissed after describing Iranians as "stubborn," "rude" and thieves of others’ ideas. MGA’s chief executive, Isaac Larian, is Iranian American.
The groups believed the dismissal influenced the federal jury. Mattel won a $100 million verdict in a California district court.
"This is an unusual situation where the court learned of this overt racism that had been expressed by one juror," said Simon Frankel, a partner in the law firm representing all four organizations. "And the amici whom we represent believe that this kind of attitude has absolutely no place in the jury room and should be taken seriously, and that it didn’t really make sense for the district judge to conclude that a juror who could bring this up in deliberations could both not be biased and have no effect on jury deliberations."