law firm Skadden to law firm Quinn Emanuel: Find Your Own Hotel
June 9, 2008
Two heavy-hitting litigators, Skadden’s Tom Nolan and Quinn Emanuel’s John Quinn, went to Riverside, California, a couple weeks ago to fight over dolls. According to the Daily Journal, they’ve also been fighting over hotel rooms.
The piece (link unavailable) reports that when Quinn and his legal team, who are rep’ing Mattel, tried to book rooms in Riverside’s Mission Inn (pictured), a century-old historic landmark, they found that Nolan’s clients, MGA Entertainment, had the hotel sign a contract barring Quinn and his team from sharing the accommodations. Nolan, whose L.A. office is about 55 miles away from Riverside, said MGA and its former counsel in the case, O’Melveny & Myers, decided the contract was necessary because they had concerns about accidental delivery of their case file boxes or faxes to opposing counsel’s rooms during trial.
Quinn and Nolan are in Riverside to litigate the Bratz-Barbie dispute, in which Mattel accuses MGA of essentially stealing the idea for Bratz dolls. Mattel is trying to seize ownership of the $500 million per year Bratz franchise. MGA denies wrongdoing, and accuses Mattel in a separate suit of copying Bratz.
Quinn reportedly asked District Judge Stephen Larson, who is presiding over the Bratz trial, to deem the contract unenforceable and clear the way for his firm to stay at the inn. Larson declined to resolve the dispute.
But the contract didn’t end up being an issue. In a conference with Larson, Nolan said, lawyers representing the Mission Inn pointed out that there was “an exception to the exclusionary contract” that gave Quinn & Co. the option of booking rooms at the Mission through a travel agent, but not directly through the inn.
“It didn’t prevent us from staying” at the hotel, said Quinn. Quinn said he and most members of his team opted instead to register at the nearby Riverside Marriott, but half a dozen of his colleagues ended up with rooms at the Mission Inn. He said he opted for the Marriott ($149-$350/night) because it had more amenities for trial preparation and was “less expensive” than the Mission Inn ($215-$2,000/night).
Nolan said an issue arose the day Quinn Emanuel and Skadden lawyers checked-in at the hotel. He said a delivery person inadvertently routed a package for a Quinn lawyer to the room of a Skadden partner. Nolan said his colleague brought the box to the Quinn attorney. Now, the entire Quinn legal team, according to the Daily Journal, has since moved to the Marriott.
LB Readers: In the article, Tom Nolan said exclusion contracts are commonly used to “ensure no break in privilege or inadvertent disclosure” of case material.