This is an update to my post from September about Julie Roehm and her wrongful termination lawsuit against Wal-Mart. As of that point, after federal district judge in Michigan had remanded the case to state court, a Michigan state court judge granted Wal-Mart’s motion to dismiss on the grounds that Arkansas was the proper venue for the lawsuit. Wal-Mart had also asserted a counterclaim against Roehm for breach of her fiduciary duty.
According to today’s Wall Street Journal, Roehm and Wal-Mart have agreed not to pursue their actions against each other, and Roehm has acknowledged that she made inaccurate statements about the business relationship between Wal-Mart and its CEO, Lee Scott, and Minnesota businessman Irwin Jacobs. Those statements, in which Roehm accused Jacobs of selling Scott merchandise, such as yachts and a large diamond, at preferential prices, prompted Jacobs to sue Roehm for defamation in Arkansas state court. Jacobs will announce today that he will drop his lawsuit against Roehm.
The Journal says that Roehm decided not to pursue the lawsuit because it was "financially draining," and notes that she was "influenced by by a ‘recent exchange of information between her lawyers and those for Wal-Mart and Irwin Jacobs’" regarding the allegations that she made about their relationship.
It looks like Roehm and her lawyers figured out she wasn’t going to be able to beat Wal-Mart, particularly in Arkansas, and was going to have to spend a lot of money in the process. In addition, because there was apparently considerable merit to Irwin Jacobs’ defamation action, Roehm could have faced the prospect of not recovering anything from Wal-Mart, but having to compensate Jacobs (and maybe Wal-Mart) for their claims.