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Mattel, Inc. v. MGA Entm't, Inc.

United States District Court for the Central District of California

April 12, 2010, Decided; April 12, 2010, Filed

CV 04-9049 DOC (RNBx)

Opinion

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

PROCEEDING (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS RELATED TO MGA'S INTERNAL TRADE SECRET INVESTIGATIONS

Before the Court is Mattel, Inc. ("Mattel")'s Motion to Compel Production of Documents Related [*17]  to MGA's Internal Trade Secret Investigations (the "Motion"). The Court finds the matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed R. Civ. P. 78; Local R. 7-15. After considering the moving, opposing, and replying papers, and for the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART the Motion.

I. Background

Mattel alleges that MGA, MGA's employees, and the subsidiaries of MGA's employees engaged in the widespread theft of trade secrets, including most notably, the knowing theft of trade secrets documents from Mattel's offices in Mexico. Due in large part to a criminal investigation against former MGA de Mexico employees Gustavo Machado, Jorge Castilla, Mariana Trueba, and Pablo Vargas, Mattel has not obtained meaningful discovery from these employees during depositions. However, based on Larian's deposition testimony, Mattel claims that MGA conducted internal investigations to "determine whether any of MGA's employees have ever taken or obtained Mattel's trade secrets." Specifically, Mattel relies upon the following Larian deposition testimony:

Q What investigation are you aware of?

A I know that our lawyers — can I disclose that?

Ms. Hurst No. You can't disclose that.

Q Let me — without necessarily [*18]  agreeing that that's appropriate, let me try it a different way. Have you been personally involved in any investigation to determine whether any of your employees have taken or obtained Mattel trade secrets?

A Besides directing our legal department, no.

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2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147902 *

MATTEL, INC. v. MGA ENTERTAINMENT, INC.

Subsequent History: Motion denied by Mattel, Inc. v. MGA Entm't, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147900 (C.D. Cal., May 13, 2010)

Prior History: Bryant v. Mattel, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133392 (C.D. Cal., Aug. 31, 2009)

CORE TERMS

trade secret, documents, investigations, deposition, investigative report, discovery, work product, employees, misappropriated