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Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

February 15, 2012, Decided; February 15, 2012, Filed

10 C 340


 [***1750]   [*1104]  Memorandum Opinion and Order

In 2009, when Plaintiff Michael Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Third-Party Defendant Time Inc. published a Sports Illustrated Presents commemorative issue devoted to celebrating his career. Doc. 77-1 at 2-3. Time asked numerous businesses, including Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff Jewel Food Stores, Inc., to design a page for the issue "with some play on words or design that is specific to Michael Jordan." Doc. 102 at ¶ 29. Jewel paid nothing for the opportunity, but did agree to stock and sell the issue at special displays by the checkout counters of its grocery stores. Doc.  [**3] 101 at ¶ 15. Jewel's internal copywriter created a message, and its marketing vendor, Third-Party Defendant Vertis, Inc., designed the graphics. Doc. 102 at ¶¶ 31, 32, 34. Jewel's page and the issue's cover are reproduced at the end of this opinion.

The page features a pair of basketball shoes spotlighted on the hardwood floor of a basketball court. The number Jordan wore for most of his tenure with the Chicago Bulls (23) appears on the tongue of each shoe, with the following message positioned above:

A Shoe In! After six NBA championships, scores of rewritten record books and numerous buzzer beaters, Michael Jordan's elevation in the Basketball Hall of Fame was never in doubt! Jewel-Osco salutes #23 on his many accomplishments as we honor a fellow Chicagoan who was "just around the corner" for so many years.

Beneath the text is Jewel's logo, which features its registered trade name "Jewel-Osco" in large, underlined print. Beneath the logo, in smaller font, is Jewel's slogan: "Good things are just around the corner." Jewel operates about 175 grocery stores in the greater Chicago area—hence the reference to Jordan being Jewel's "fellow Chicagoan." The page [***1751]  mentions no specific Jewel product  [**4] or service; Jewel does not sell basketball shoes.

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851 F. Supp. 2d 1102 *; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18664 **; 102 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1750 ***; 40 Media L. Rep. 1450; 2012 WL 512584

MICHAEL JORDAN, Plaintiff, vs. JEWEL FOOD STORES, INC., and SUPERVALU INC., Defendants. JEWEL FOOD STORES, INC., and SUPERVALU INC., Third-Party Plaintiffs, vs. TIME INC. and VERTIS, INC., Third-Party Defendants. TIME INC., Third-Party Counter-Plaintiff, vs. JEWEL FOOD STORES, INC., and SUPERVALU INC., Third-Party Counter-Defendants.

Subsequent History: Reversed by, Remanded by Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., 743 F.3d 509, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3030 (7th Cir. Ill., 2014)

Related proceeding at Jordan v. Dominick's Finer Foods, LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81790 (N.D. Ill., June 17, 2014)

On remand at, Summary judgment denied by, Summary judgment granted, in part, summary judgment denied, in part by, As moot Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30334 (N.D. Ill., Mar. 12, 2015)

Motion denied by Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72732 (N.D. Ill., June 5, 2015)

Motion granted by Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110079 (N.D. Ill., Aug. 20, 2015)


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