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Bain v. Gillispie

Iowa Court of Appeals
357 N.W.2d 47 (1984)


Bain (plaintiff) is a referee for college basketball games. Gillispie (defendant) operates a novelty store in Iowa City, Iowa specializing in University of Iowa sports memorabilia. Gillispie’s store is a private enterprise for profit and has no association with the University of Iowa or its sports program. On March 6, 1982, Bain was refereeing a basketball game between the University of Iowa and Purdue University. Bain made a call that essentially permitted a win for Purdue University. Many University of Iowa fans, including Gillispie, blamed Bain for the University of Iowa’s loss. A few days after the game, Gillispie began marketing shirts showing a caricature of Bain being hung by a noose. Bain brought suit in Iowa state court against Gillispie seeking injunctive relief and alleging actual and punitive damages. Gillispie counterclaimed on the grounds that Bain negligently breached the standard of competence required of a professional referee, and that Gillispie was entitled to damages as a third party beneficiary of Bain’s employment contract with the Big Ten Athletic Conference. The trial court granted Bain’s motion for summary judgment, and Gillispie appealed.

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