Reports: Ruling Against J.C. Penney In Martha Stewart Macy’s Dispute

A New York State Supreme Court Judge on Monday ruled that J.C. Penney unlawfully interfered with an exclusive merchandising agreement between Macy’s and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, according to reports by The New York Times and others.

The ruling, by Justice Jeffrey Oing, declined to award punitive damages to Macy’s or to recoup Macy’s attorney fees from J.C. Penney. Oing ordered instead that this be decided by a special judicial officer or referee, according to The New York Times.

The matter was brought to court over a December 2011 agreement between J.C. Penney and MSLO to sell home products, such as rugs and bath towels, in J.C. Penney’s stores. Macy’s sued both companies, saying that the agreement violated a five-year-old agreement it already had to sell many of the same housewares exclusively.

The New York Times cited a statement issued by J.C. Penney which said, “The company does not believe that money damages are warranted, and will defend against any damages awarded.” The statement also said that Penney was considering its options for appeal.

The story also reported a statement issued by Macy’s yesterday which said the retailer “was delighted, but certainly not surprised” at the judge’s ruling., adding, “It is a great shame that Macy’s had to expend time, money and the diversion of its resources in order to protect its rights. We look forward to the damages phase of the case.