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Editor: D. A. Jeremy Telman
Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bratz v. Gaga in Breach of Contract Suit

The_Monster_Ball_-_Poker_Face_revamped2-tweakBratz dolls are no stranger to the blog - we've previously blogged about the Bratz' travails with Barbie.  For those uninitiated, in a previous post, our editor D. A. Jeremy Telman described Bratz as barbies that "dress like prostitutes" (or, his sister did).  Anyway, Bloomberg now reports that Bratz his initiated a contract suit against Lady Gaga (really, her management company).  From Bloomberg:

Pop star Lady Gaga and her management company were sued by MGA Entertainment Inc., the maker of Bratz toys, for failing to approve a line of dolls in her image.

The Van Nuys, California-based company, alleging breach of contract in New York state court, is seeking more than $10 million in damages from the pop star, her management company, Culver City, California-based Atom Factory, and Los Angeles- based Bravado International Group, a merchandising company that works with musicians and music groups.

MGA Entertainment says in the complaint that it agreed to produce dolls in Lady Gaga’s image in December 2011 at Bravado’s “request and insistence” and paid the company a $1 million fee in anticipation of shipping the products to retailers this summer in time for the holiday selling season.

In April, Bravado’s Chief Executive Officer, Tom Bennett, told MGA’s chief executive officer, Issac Larian, that Lady Gaga wanted to delay production and shipping of the dolls until her new album is released in 2013, according to the complaint. MGA says the defendants have continued to withhold final approval in order to delay marketing the dolls until next year and instead sell a licensed Lady Gaga perfume called “Fame.”

‘Bad Faith’

“Defendants’ conduct is egregious, in bad faith and is pretextual, especially in light of the fact that MGA has, among other things, paid Bravado a $1,000,000 advance, agreed to an excessively generous royalty rate, invested millions in the preproduction of the Lady Gaga dolls and put its reputation and goodwill on the line in order to secure distributors and retail shelf space,” MGA Entertainment said in the complaint.

Amanda Silverman, a spokeswoman for Lady Gaga, said the singer hasn’t seen the complaint and has no comment.

“This is a dispute between Universal Music Group’s merchandising company and MGA,” Silverman said in an e-mail. “There was no legitimate reason for dragging Lady Gaga into that dispute. Lady Gaga will vigorously defend MGA’s ill- conceived lawsuit and is confident that she will prevail.”

Peter Lofrumento, a spokesman for Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, the parent company of Bravado, said in an e-mail that the claims in the suit are meritless and the company will vigorously defend itself in court.

A telephone message left at the headquarters of Atom Factory wasn’t immediately returned.

[Meredith R. Miller]

 

 

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