Former Wal-Mart Ad Exec Drops Lawsuit

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Former Wal-Mart Ad Exec Drops Lawsuit

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Former high-profile Wal-Mart ad executive Julie Roehm has decided to drop her breach-of-contract lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., saying that the legal matter had become too costly to pursue.

Roehm said in a prepared statement that her lawsuit had wound up going beyond her effort to recover $1.5 million in severance pay. She also said that allegations of ethical breaches she made in her original suit, which was dismissed, contained inaccuracies.

Since Roehm has decided to not refile, Wal-Mart said yesterday the company would drop its countersuit against Roehm.

Roehm's initial suit sought up to $1.5 million and alleged Wal-Mart breached its contract with her. Wal-Mart filed a counterclaim accusing Roehm of having an affair with her subordinate Sean Womack and of accepting gifts and otherwise showing favoritism toward an agency that was lobbying for Wal-Mart's account. The suit also accused Roehm and Womack of trying to find a job with the ad agency.

In May, Roehm claimed in another court filing that chief executive Lee Scott violated the company's ethics policy by accepting trips and discounts on yachts and jewelry from Irwin Jacobs, a wealthy entrepreneur who does business with Wal-Mart.

Both Wal-Mart and Jacobs denied all of Roehm's claims. Jacobs sued Roehm for defamation. In a statement released to The Wall Street Journal, Jacobs said he felt vindicated by Roehm's statement and that he would drop his counterclaim against her as well.

Roehm departed Wal-Mart in December 2006 after less than a year with the retailer.