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Macy??s and Martha Stewart settle contract disputes amicably

There are several remedies available when a party to a contract breaches it. When a contract is breached in California and elsewhere the non-breaching party may sue the breaching party for losses sustained in not receiving the benefit of the bargain. There are various other remedies associated with contract disputes that can be enforced under the appropriate circumstances.

Where a business entity procures one of the parties to an existing contract to breach it, and damages result, this is called interference with contract. When it happens, the non-breaching business entity may sue the interfering business for its improper intrusion. The non-breaching business can also sue the other entity to the contract for breaching it.

Similarly, a claim for damages exists where a business entices another business to breach a business relationship to which the plaintiff is a party. The plaintiff can sue the interfering party for losses cause by that party's improper interference. These principles are likely involved in certain ongoing contract disputes existing among Macy's, J.C. Penney, and Martha Stewart Omnimedia.

For several years Macy's has had the exclusive contractual right to sell Omnimedia's bath and bedding products and related items. However, in late 2011 Penney entered into an agreement with Omnimedia to develop certain Martha Stewart lines in the Penney stores. Macy's sued Martha Stewart for breach of contract.

Macy's also sued J.C. Penney in effect for interfering with its contract with the Stewart company. It also sued Penney for interfering with its ongoing business relationship with Stewart. Just recently, Macy's settled its contract claim with Omnimedia and both companies will continue to do business together.

Macy's, however, said it is continuing the suit against Penney. That may be a bit of posturing regarding the contract disputes because Penney has already announced its cessation of selling Omnimedia's bath and bedding products in favor of certain other products. When a company interferes with an ongoing contractual relationship, the remedy in California or any other state is likely to be similar to Macy's apparently successful course of action.

Source: Crain's New York Business, Macy's, Martha Stewart Living settle dispute, No author, Jan. 2, 2014

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