Focus Media, Santa Monica, Calif., the week of March 20 filed a $100 million countersuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Sears, Roebuck & Co., Hoffman Estates, Ill., for breach of contract and fraud. Last week, Sears sued Focus Media and fired the media buyer, accusing Focus of breach of contract. "This entire case is an attempt by Sears--a massive international corporation widely known for its rough, predatory and fraudulent practices--to drive a small California firm out of business because the small firm would not bend to its will,'' Focus says in its suit. A Focus spokesman said Sears' action stemmed from a request by the retail giant last November to change its agreement with Focus. Sears wanted to remove the condition in which it was required to give Focus 12 months notice if Sears wanted to terminate its agreement with Focus. Focus Chairman Tom Rubin refused to alter the contract, the spokesman said. A Sears spokeswoman responded: "Sears views the allegations as completely unfounded, and we will respond promptly to them.'' She contended that Focus failed to pay media outlets in full for spots for which Sears had paid Focus.
Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.