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Edited by on February 3 2012 at 7:43 AM

Proceedings are under way in the case of Macy’s v. Martha Stewart Living and it’s already getting ugly with the former bringing up the latter’s prison record and referring to rival J.C. Penney as a “less upscale retailer.”  Meanwhile, sounds like someone got a few high profile diffusion lines and thinks they’re ballin’ like Barneys all of a sudden. 

Macys Hitting Below the Belt in Martha Stewart Lawsuit

Macy’s is fighting to stave off a deal Martha signed with JC Penney — allegedly behind their back — while trying to keep the brand all to themselves. Stewart had sold a 16.6% stake in its company to J.C. Penney back in December to begin selling there in February 2013, directly after the deal with Macy’s was set to expire. However, Macy’s decided to extend its contract with the brand for another five years on January 23, the same day it also decided to sue Martha and co. Macy’s is now seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia from going any further in its deal with Penney’s, though that deal is still a year away.

“MSLO’s announcement of its deal with J.C. Penney…devalued the Martha Stewart products that Macy’s is currently selling, in ways that are not calculable,” Macy’s claims in its breach of contract suit. “MSLO has severely damaged the ‘crucial connection’ between Macy’s and Martha Stewart that Macy’s has devoted years and tens of millions of dollars to developing; it has destroyed the public perception that Macy’s is the only place a consumer can turn to to purchase Martha Stewart home products in key categories.”

The suit also makes reference to that dark, poncho-filled time in Martha’s life when she was sent to prison and her company’s image and reputation were subsequently tarnished: “At the time Macy’s negotiated and entered into the agreement in 2005 and early 2006, the ‘Martha Stewart’ brand was under pressure by very public proceedings and their aftermath involving Ms. Stewart.”

Well, if Macy’s wins this case, things are going to be super awkward at the dinner table and no amount of parsley can garnish away the things said in the heat of battle. [WWD, sub req'd]


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Story by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester at