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Judge Criticizes J.C. Penney Execs for “Colossal and Abject Failure” View Count: 107


On Monday, New York state court Judge Jeffrey Oing ripped apart J.C. Penney for its failed attempt to sign Martha Stewart away from Macy’s, according to the Huffington Post. Oing ripped into former chief executive Ron Johnson and his team of management executives at J.C. Penney.

“J.C. Penney, its board of directors and its top executives were publicly ridiculed and humiliated as a consequence of this trial,” Oing wrote in the ruling. “Their grand strategy was a colossal and abject retail failure.”

Oing wrote that Johnson was a “casualty of his own hubris.” He was fired in April of 2013, before the end of the trial.


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The case stems from a 2011 agreement between J.C. Penney and Martha Stewart Living to sell her products. Macy’s sued the two companies, claiming that the agreement was a breach of contract it had with Martha Stewart Living to carry the line of home goods exclusively. Earlier this year, Macy’s reached a settlement with Martha Stewart Living.

Oing ruled that J.C. Penney interfered with the agreement between Martha Stewart and Macy’s.

“While we appreciate the Court’s efforts in this multi-year litigation, we respectfully disagree with and are disappointed by this outcome,” J.C. Penney said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “We are also considering our options for appeal.”

Oing also discussed emails between Johnson and his senior team. He called those involved “nothing short of sophomoric.” The executives laughed at the trouble they were causing Terry Lundgren, the CEO of Macy’s.

“Such childish behavior displayed by these individuals is unbecoming of top executives of a major corporation, and is nothing to be proud of, particularly given the stakes,” the judge said.

One email, from Johnson to Executive Vice President Steve Lawrence, said the following:

“I am so sad…It is always good to be playing offense. I like the fact that we have everyone watching and paying attention. I’m sure Macy’s is in shock…and it must be a bit embarrassing. They look asleep at the wheel.”

The other email criticized by the judge was between Johnson and company President Mike Francis:

“Terry might have a headache tonight…wait until 1/24. It will be a full on migraine :)”

Francis responded to Johnson with the following:

“I think Terry is more likely to race past migraine to into grand mal seizure!”

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