In this article, you will get all information regarding Mistrial declared in rapper T.I. and singer Tiny’s lawsuit against toymaker – Orange County Register – Vigour Times
A federal civil trial pitting the rapper T.I. and his wife, singer Tameka “Tiny” Harris, against a Chatsworth toymaker over a popular doll line ended with a mistrial Wednesday after a judge found that testimony accusing the company of cultural appropriation was improperly played for the jury.
T.I. and Tiny sought payment from high-profile toymaker MGA Entertainment, alleging that dolls in the company’s “LOL Surprise! OMG” line stole the likeness and style of the OMG Girls, a former rap group comprised of Tiny’s daughter and her friends.
MGA has denied stealing the OMG Girls look — brightly colored hair, makeup and clothes — and fired back by accusing T.I. and Tiny of trying to carry out a legal “shakedown” and claiming the OMG Girls stole their own aesthetic from the toymaker’s earlier line of “Bratz” dolls, as well as other popular musical artists.
On Tuesday, jurors in the trial at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana watched a video deposition introduced by T.I. and Tiny’s attorneys in which a consumer said she stopped buying the OMG Dolls because she “did not want to support a company that steals from African Americans and their ideas and profit off of it and don’t give African Americans the profit.”
Attorneys for MGA alleged that the recorded testimony prejudiced the jury by “accusing MGA of racist cultural appropriation” and argued that introducing it during the trial ran afoul of a pre-trial order barring such evidence of alleged “cultural appropriation.” In a motion filed with the court, the attorneys said there was “no unringing this bell.”
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge James Selna agreed to declare a mistrial.
“Diversity has always been a key value at MGA Entertainment in both our people and our toys. In fact, MGA brought diversity to the fashion doll category more than 21 years ago with the introduction of Bratz dolls. We are disappointed that the trial was cut short but look forward to vindicating our rights in the next trial.” MGA Entertainment spokeman Alan Hilowitz said in a statement after the ruling.
Attorneys for T.I. and Tiny could not be immediately reached for comment.
The ruling came two days before T.I. — whose real name is Clifford Harris — was expected to take the stand. Tiny and her daughter — Zonnique Pullins — already had testified.
Formed in 2009 with the guidance of Tiny, the OMG Girls made multiple appearances on the reality show “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle” on VH1 and took part in several tours. Along with Pullins — who is T.I.’s stepdaughter — the group at times also included Reginae Carter — the daughter of rapper Lil’ Wayne — and sisters Lourdes and Bahja Rodriguez.
During opening statements in the trial last week, attorney David Scheper said the OMG Girls’ brand — which he defined as colorful hair and clothing that often included tutu outfits and flowing shirts — became “good enough to steal.” The attorney accused MGA of releasing 31 dolls that were improperly based on the OMG Girls image.
Attorney Jennifer Keller denied that the OMG Girls were the basis for any of the dolls created by MGA, and described the group as “trend followers, not trendsetters” who mirrored the aesthetic of not only the earlier Brartz dolls but also pop stars such as Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Avril Lavigne.
A status conference was set for Feb. 2 to discuss the next steps in the case, court records show. A date for a potential new trial has not yet been scheduled.
Mistrial declared in rapper T.I. and singer Tiny’s lawsuit against toymaker – Orange County Register – Vigour Times
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