Macy’s Inc. said Martha Stewart Living (MSO) Omnimedia Inc.’s request to question Chief Executive Officer Terry Lundgren in a contract fight between the two companies is “unreasonable and untimely” and should be denied.
Martha Stewart Living yesterday asked New York State Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Oing to order Macy’s to make Lundgren available for a deposition as soon as possible, saying in a letter that he has “unique, relevant personal knowledge.”
“Mr. Lundgren has no unique, non-duplicative information relating to any material issue in this action,” lawyers for Macy’s said in a letter to Oing filed today. “He was not primarily involved in the discussions with MSLO that led to the execution of the contract at issue in this case.”
Macy’s said courts in New York and elsewhere have recognized for more than half a century the “apex deposition doctrine,” which says that high-level corporate executives shouldn’t be subjected to a deposition when they could contribute nothing beyond what could be learned from lower-level employees.
Martha Stewart could have obtained any information that Lundgren possesses through the depositions of four Macy’s employees that have already been conducted, according to today’s court filing.
Macy’s, based in Cincinnati, sued in January to stop New York-based Martha Stewart Living from executing a sales agreement announced in December with J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) Macy’s said it has the exclusive right to sell Martha Stewart-branded products in certain categories.
J.C. Penney, based in Plano, Texas, acquired a 17 percent stake in Martha Stewart Living for $38.5 million as the U.S. department-store chain seeks to revive sales with new mini- stores dedicated to the home goods brand.
The case is Macy’s Inc. (M) v. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., 650197/2012, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan).