Macy's sues Martha Stewart Living

Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:53pm EST

Martha Stewart attends the Chado Ralph Rucci Spring 2010 collection during New York Fashion Week, September 12, 2009.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Martha Stewart attends the Chado Ralph Rucci Spring 2010 collection during New York Fashion Week, September 12, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

(Reuters) - Macy's Inc is suing Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc, accusing the company of breach of contract for entering into an agreement to sell certain products at stores run by its rival J.C. Penney Co Inc.

The operator of Macy's department stores says Martha Stewart Living granted it the exclusive right to manufacture and sell certain products under a 2006 agreement, according to a New York state Supreme Court filing on Monday.

Yet in December, J.C. Penney took a large stake in Martha Stewart Living and announced plans to open shops within its stores, starting in 2013, that sell Martha Stewart-branded goods.

Macy's is seeking a preliminary injunction stopping Martha Stewart from violating the contract. It also is seeking an order sealing the lawsuit and motion, saying it is prohibited from disclosing certain information.

The court filing does not detail the products in question.

But Macy's said in a statement that it had "renewed its agreement to exclusively sell Martha Stewart-branded product in categories such as cookware, kitchen utensils, bed and bath for another five years," meaning until January 2018.

Macy's said it went to court to enforce the agreement signed by Martha Stewart Living in 2006 "in which the right for Macy's to sell product exclusively in these categories was clearly outlined."

Martha Stewart Living said it typically does not comment on legal matters. However, a company statement pointed out Macy's intent "to extend its commercial agreement with MSLO to feature and promote the Martha Stewart Collection -- its #1 home brand -- in Macy's stores."

J.C. Penney did not immediately return a call for comment.

The case is Macy's Inc. v. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc., 650197/2012, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan).

(Reporting By Karen Freifeld; additional reporting by Martinne G. Geller and Nivedita Bhattacharjee; Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Bernard Orr)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (5)
SanPa wrote:
I will never shop for Martha Stewart poducts again … wait a minute, I haven’t ever bought the truly trashy Chinese goods marketed under Martha’s name. Wheew … I guess I dodged that bullet.

Jan 23, 2012 5:44pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Macy’s actions smack of anti-trade. How can a publicly traded company like Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia expect to survive in a recession hanging their hat in Macy’s stores? That’s ludicrous, shame on Macy’s attorneys for fomenting such legal mischief.

Jan 23, 2012 8:11pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Marla wrote:
Martha Stewart should still be in jail for insider trading. She avoided a loss of $45,000 dollars, and she darn well knew that what she was doing was illegal because she used to be a stock broker! She was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction, and making false statements to Federal Investigators. Yecchh, I can’t stand the woman.

Jan 23, 2012 8:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.