U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur may not have an NBA Championship ring, but he sure can put a Hall of Famer in his place. Shadur called Michael Jordan‘s $5 million lawsuit against Dominick’s Finer Foods LLC “greedy” and ordered him to appear in court for an off-the-record settlement conference to discuss more reasonable damages.
Jordan arrived at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse through the underground garage and a private elevator on Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“I think it would be a constructive use of time to see whether some element of sanity cannot be introduced into this matter,” Shadur said, according to a transcript of the May 22 hearing.
Sports Illustrated ran the one-page Dominick’s ad in an issue honoring Jordan’s Hall of Fame induction. The ad read: “Congratulations, Michael Jordan. You are a cut above.” A coupon for a Rancher’s Reserve steak was featured below. According to his deposition, Curtis Polk, Jordan’s financial adviser, initially saw the ad while flipping through the issue at a doctor’s office.
Before Wednesday, Jordan’s attorney, Frederick Sperling, made attempts to prevent Jordan from attending the conference, claiming that Jordan thought the discussions to be a waste of time. Shadur wasted no time in firing back, according to the transcript.
“Are you allergic to the notion that he somehow ought to participate in a lawsuit that he brought?” Shadur asked Sperling.
Jordan’s demand of $5 million comes from the fair-market value his attorneys put on the use of his image. According to his lawyers, the damages from the lawsuit would be donated to charity, with the James R. Jordan Foundation being the probable philanthropy.
This was also not the first time that Jordan acted on the use of his name without permission. Grocery store Jewel-Osco also put out an ad to congratulate the former NBA great, and U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman ultimately ruled that the “noncommercial speech” was protected by the First Amendment. Jordan has appealed this ruling to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to Sperling.
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