A New York Post article saying J.C. Penney Co. (JCP:US) is ending a home-goods deal with Martha Stewart’s company while facing a Macy’s Inc. (M:US) lawsuit is the subject of a court hearing set for Sept. 25, a person familiar with the matter said.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Oing yesterday scheduled the hearing without saying why, according to court records. Oing oversaw a non-jury trial of a claim by Cincinnati-based Macy’s that a December 2011 sales deal between Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (MSO:US) and J.C. Penney violated its 2006 agreement with the home-goods designer. Closing arguments in that trial ended Aug. 1 and a decision could come at any time.
Oing has indicated he plans to ask the companies’ lawyers if the Post story is true because it may affect his ruling on the contract, said the person, who asked not be named because the purpose of the hearing has not been made public.
The Post reported Sept. 4 that J.C. Penney Chief Executive Officer Mike Ullman was ending the merchandising deal because of low sales, unimpressive designs and items discounted as much as 50 percent.
Kristin Hays, a J.C. Penney spokeswoman, declined to comment on the Post story at the time. A message left at the company’s press office yesterday wasn’t immediately returned.
Suzanne Halpin, a New York Post spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the court hearing.
Ted Grossman, a lawyer for Macy’s, declined to comment on the scheduled hearing, as did Mark H. Epstein, a lawyer for J.C. Penney.
Closing arguments in the trial took place more than three months after the companies sparred in a five-week trial that featured testimony from Stewart and appearances on the stand by Macy’s Chief Executive Officer Terry Lundgren and then-J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson, who was fired about a month later.
The cases are Macy’s Inc. v. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., 650197/2012, and Macy’s Inc. v. J.C. Penney Corp., 652861/2012, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).
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