Neiman Marcus Settles Suit With Angry Wife Returning $1.4 Million in Merchandise

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Neiman Marcus has settled a lawsuit with an angry customer who wanted to return $1.4 million in merchandise that she says was purchased by her husband while he carried on an affair with a Neiman Marcus saleswoman.

Yes, this was a messy one.

As the Dallas Morning News reported last September, it all started when Patricia Walker (above, during a taped deposition) suffered numerous injuries in a serious car crash in April 2007. While she convalesced, she says, her husband, Robert Tennison, began spending more than usual on their joint account at Neiman Marcus. While they usually spent around $100,000 a year at the luxury retailer, spending tripled the year she was injured. It grew to nearly half a million the next year -- all during a time when she would have had little use for the store's handbags and jewelry.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of this spending spree was Favi Lo, a Neiman Marcus saleswoman with whom the couple had worked closely in the past. Now she was racking up commissions, helping to make her one of the store's top-producing associates.

Walker contends that reason for the sudden spike in spending -- and Lo's surging fortunes -- was clear: Lo and Tennison were carrying on an affair while Walker lay injured, with Tennison racking up big bills at the store to help out his lover.

The two don't deny having an affair, but say it didn't start until late 2009; Walker's lawyer insists it started earlier.


When the couple eventually filed for divorce and Walker discovered her husband's affair, she noted the huge increase in spending and put two and two together. She then went to Neiman Marcus and put its famously permissive return policy to the test, asking it to take back $1.4 million in merchandise. When it refused, she filed a lawsuit. The retailer at one point called the suit ""nothing more than the ventings of a woman scorned by the infidelity of her former husband that have spilled over from her highly contentious divorce."

Well, the long, strange tale is now at an end: The two parties settled their suit this week. While the details of that settlement are sealed, it sounds like the suit wasn't going the retailer's way. The Dallas Morning News notes that one of the key questions revolved around Neiman Marcus' policy allowing you to "return for credit, at any time, merchandise with which you are not completely satisfied." That policy was at one point available on the Neiman Marcus website, though its attorneys argued that there was no formal, written return policy -- rather, that it was an unwritten policy left to the discretion of store managers and spread by word of mouth.

"Boy, I find that totally incredible," the judge reportedly responded.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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98 Comments

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Stephen

Dang.......

July 30 2013 at 10:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gpmwdm

The return policy was WRITTEN on their web site. What don't you understand, Neiman Marcus, about the word WRITTEN? Is someone's lifestyle now questioned before they will allow a return? I may as well shop at K-Mart, where they INTERROGATE you before accepting anything back. They sell crap and certainly don't want you bringing it back into their store.

July 29 2013 at 7:04 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rrusrjr2

Bad news! Surveillance not needed by IRS to add this woman and her ex to Obamas' abuse list for rich people. BO hates everyone who has money, except himself.

July 27 2013 at 4:50 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
Missy

Why would the store have ANY issue with someone returning merchandise? They have a return policy, plain and simple.

July 27 2013 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Blessed One X 20

I'd love to have just the $100,000 a year! Forget spending it all there! Wow, to be so financially independent! Sounds like fun to me to have money and not worry about bills, huh? I can't imagine anyone having that much money to spend there yearly unless it's a celebrity or someone like that... again, wow!! I AM glad though that she won her lawsuit when the store refused to refund her money for all her sneaky cheating husband bought for her.

July 27 2013 at 1:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wrenaroo

Stupid man. You don't buy hookers at NM, you buy gifts to give hookers at NM. The clerk should have to return her ill gotten spoils. The husband should be given a brain. And the ex-wife should be grateful the serious injuries she sustained are now healed. Money obviously cannot buy you everything...like self respect...unconditional love...or intelligence. Seeing some people with wealth is like watching paralyzed dancer...inability to see beyond the obvious.

July 27 2013 at 12:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wrenaroo's comment
Blessed One X 20

I so totally agree with you!! There are things that money just can NOT buy and definately, self respect and good health are among them. Your last sentence is amazing! Excellent post!!

July 27 2013 at 1:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Benita

hi who are you?

July 26 2013 at 11:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Benita's comment
Frank

???

July 26 2013 at 11:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Frank's comment
Blessed One X 20

I do think that someone is lost....Lol

July 27 2013 at 2:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
ammons422@hotmail.com

How do u know they didn't work hard for their money spend it as they wished cause u damn sure can't take it with u and how do u know that they don't give a lot to charities such as poor neighborhoods. Better yet how much have u donated this year? Not to be mean but I make 27000 a year and I've yet to stand in line waiting on someone else to hand me money. Instead of why they did this and that with their money work on your own problems. Get out and help the needy outside of holidays. Ask the government officials who make more than these people to do more than donate money to their own charities write it off on their taxes and have it sent right back to their very own bank accts. If some of u who sit here and cast stones had their money you would probably spend the same. haters!

July 26 2013 at 11:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ammons422@hotmail.com's comment
Blessed One X 20

There's plenty in comments that I do NOT agree with and I DO agree that people can be hateful, especially when they are anonymous..I only have ONE MAJOR REQUEST ---- To ALL ADULTs: PLEASE STOP using the word "haters!!!" You sound like you are a 14 year old calling your friends names!! There are other words that grown ups use. PLEASE use them!! "Haters!!" is so, so teenager talk thus for adults so childish!!!

July 27 2013 at 1:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
delrio4904

Worked at NM. NO wonder. Cheat the employees of commissions. Crappy benefits.
Earlier worked at Tiffanys. Now THAT was a class act. VERY little "shrinkage" (Internal theft). Almost none at Tiffany. At Needless Markup: HUGE! Well what would one expect from a company based in TX AZZ, a "Right to work" state.

She should have gotten a great deal more for "Mortification"!

July 26 2013 at 10:48 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to delrio4904's comment
gpmwdm

What's wrong with a "right to work state"? Have you noticed a definite correlation, delrio, between high unemployment and organized labor states? The unions kill the economy where they have kept out "right to work". If the union workers ever calculated what they pay in union dues and all of the down time that they are laid off from work, they would quickly realize that they really are no better off than their non-union counterparts.

July 29 2013 at 7:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chckpope

So they didn't mention if the sales woman had to return her ill gained commissions.

July 26 2013 at 9:40 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to chckpope's comment
Blessed One X 20

Excellent point!!

July 27 2013 at 2:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gpmwdm

I doubt it. She may be sleeping with the Neiman Marcus CEO!

July 29 2013 at 7:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply