Jacobs Sues Roehm for Defamation

CHICAGO Jacobs Trading owner Irwin M. Jacobs has sued former Wal-Mart marketing executive Julie Roehm for defamation in relation to assertions made in her ongoing claims of wrongful termination against the giant retailer.

In a suit filed in Benton County, Ark., Circuit Court, Jacobs seeks more than $75,000 in damages, attorneys fees and court costs and a full retraction of the claims laid out in Roehm’s suit against Wal-Mart. Roehm alleged Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott purchased boats from another of Jacobs’ companies at “preferential prices,” bought jewelry at similarly lowered rates and took trips on Jacobs’ private jet.

In a letter written by Jacobs’ attorneys to Roehm’s camp—and entered into evidence—the claims are “false [and] made without any attempt to investigate the truth or falsity of the statement made and was made with malice and ill will towards Wal-Mart, Mr. H. Lee Scott, Mr. Jacobs and Jacobs Trading.”

The letter states Jacobs Trading maintains and “arms-length business relationship with Wal-Mart,” and that any boats bought by Scott were purchased at market prices. The letter also said Jacobs had never provided any trips for Scott.

Roehm and one of her subordinates, Sean Womack, were fired from their respective jobs as svp, marketing communications and vp, communications architecture for allegedly violating the company’s strict ethics policy and having an affair, which is forbidden among managers and subordinates at the company.

The dismissal has led to an escalating war of words between Roehm and her former employer.

Separately, Roehm’s original suit has been remanded from U.S. District Court in Michigan to Oakland County (Mich.) Circuit Court over jurisdictional issues.