• October 1, 2015

Jewel Osco Congratulates Michael Jordan ADJPGFrom time to time, Minnesota Litigator busts out of its jurisdiction (defined as “News and Commentary on Minnesota Civil Litigation”) to neighboring states or to bloviate randomly as to some other distantly related subject matter. Minnesota Litigator is particularly prone to wanderlust when Minnesota civil litigators are in the news outside of Minnesota, and even more so if they are in high-profile cases.

So, in light of that, a brief note on Michael Jordan v. Jewel-Osco et al., because of Jewel-Osco’s ad, reproduced here, on the left. Lead counsel for Defendants in this case is our own Tony Zeuli of the power-house intellectual property law firm of Merchant & Gould. [Editor’s full disclosure: Tony is a friend of the author.]

Sports Illustrated ran a special issue for Michael Jordan’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame and Jewel-Osco paid for this congratulatory ad to the left, without paying Michael Jordan for the right to congratulate him in print with this ad.

How dare Jewel-Osco???

Bear in mind: Michael Jordan is no longer a professional athlete. He probably has NO INCOME anymore. He’s probably destitute. I am speculating. I do not really have first-hand knowledge but, seriously, he’s probably unemployable, between his inability to play at pro level ever again and the ruckus it would cause if he were to work in a normal office setting. I am sure that would be quite disruptive. I suppose he could work at a call-center or something but even then, he’d probably have to work from home.

The previous two paragraphs were intended ironically.

I am sympathetic to Jewel-Osco and disappointed in MJ and his handlers. So, apparently, was the trial court, by the way. The trial court threw the case out, only to be reversed on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. And now the case is back at the trial court and headed for trial on December 8 in Chicago.

Picking a jury in a case like this would seem to me to be the wholly enchilada in this case. Some, whether overcome with awe at Jordan’s fame or profoundly respectful of the “right of publicity,” would undoubtedly lean toward a substantial sum for Jordan. Others (like me) would lean toward sending a clear message of humility to the mighty (whether Jordan himself or the legion of lawyers, promoters, branders, etc.who make money by “protecting” Mr. Jordan’s “right to publicity”).



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