Mediation is in the news again. Last week, a New York judge ordered a dispute between Macy’s, Inc., J.C. Penney Co., and Martha Stewart Living to mediation. The lawsuit itself reportedly arose after New York-based Martha Stewart Living signed a contract with Plano-based J.C. Penney to open a Martha Stewart mini shop in many of the retailer’s stores. In a separate case filed three months later, Cincinnati-based Macy’s sued J.C. Penney for interfering with the company’s contract with Martha Stewart Living. The two cases were later consolidated for a bench trial in New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).
During the third week of trial, a dispute purportedly arose over whether Macy’s has the exclusive right to sell certain Martha Stewart Living items. Macy’s has reportedly sold Martha Stewart branded items in its stores since 2007. In December 2011, J.C. Penney acquired a 17 percent stake in the home merchandise brand. As a result of the disagreement and failing communication between the parties, Judge Jeffrey Oing ordered the three companies to engage in mediation before April 8th. J.C. Penney has also agreed to refrain from selling Martha Stewart Living merchandise until that date.
Stay tuned to Disputing for future updates about this case.