Friday, March 8, 2013

Martha Stewart Mediation

After weeks of testimony, in an unusual move, the judge presiding over trial in lawsuits that Macy’s brought against J. C. Penney and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia sent the parties to mediation. If the companies do not reach an agreement before April 8, Justice Jeffrey K. Oing of New York State Supreme Court will continue hearing the case. Representatives for the companies said they would participate in the mediation process. Macy’s had a contract with Martha Stewart for exclusive rights to bedding, bath and kitchen ware. However, in 2011, Penney's made a multimillion dollar investment in Stewart's company and announced it would be selling those products, as well. Penney's and Stewart’s company claim they have not violated the Macy’s contract because the Penney products would be sold in a store within a store. Interestingly, this will be the first mediation for the companies. Before the trial, a preliminary injunction was won by Macy's and it remains to be seen if the court will broaden the injunction, which would stop Penney's from selling Stewart's products in contested categories until the case is decided. Penney's said it won't sell any products that are deemed exclusive by Macy's before mediation concludes. Stewart reportedly said that in advance of the mediation order she and Macy’s chief executive had a productive conversation regarding the ongoing contract dispute and that she views mediation as a positive step forward and welcomes a prompt and fair resolution. See stories here: and