Roehm Loses Wal-Mart Case

24 August 2007

MICHIGAN: The long-running legal battle between Wal-Mart and former senior advertising vp Julie Roehm reached an unremarkable close after a state judge ruled that her court had no jurisdiction to make a final decision on the drawn-out case.

An East Michigan District Court judge had previously made a similar ruling, a decision confirmed by Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris, who argued that as neither party, any witnesses or any of the activities cited were in any way linked to the state, the case should have been filed in the retailer's home state of Arkansas.

Roehm had alleged breach of contract and fraud on the part of the retail giant after her dismissal in December 2006, along with vice president Sean Womack, and has also cited misconduct and favouritism among certain Wal-Mart executives.

Wal-Mart issued a counter-suit in March accusing her of using company expenses to fund an affair with Womack, and of accepting gifts from an agency seeking to land the company's advertising business (awarded to Draft FCB by Roehm, a decision that was later annulled).

After the ruling, a seemingly concilatory Roehm said that it "makes all the sense in the world to resolve this in a way that doesn't involve litigation".

But one of her attorneys, B Andrew Rifkin, added: "We have an awful lot of options, which we'll consider over the next few weeks."

A spokesman for Wal-Mart said, "We're pleased with the judge's decision to dismiss the case."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff