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Michael Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
743 F.3d 509 (2014)


Facts

Michael Jordan (plaintiff) was the greatest and best-known professional basketball player of his time. Jewel Food Stores, Inc. (defendant) was the operator of a chain of food stores in Chicago, the city in which Jordan played. Upon Jordan’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Sports Illustrated magazine released a commemorative issue devoted to Jordan’s career, and offered free advertising space in the issue to Jewel in exchange for selling the issue in Jewel stores. Jewel agreed and placed a full-page ad on the back inside cover of the issue. The ad included Jewel’s trademarked logo and slogan, prominently placed above a pair of basketball shoes with Jordan’s jersey number, and copy that lauded Jordan’s accomplishments while referring to Jordan using the store’s slogan. Jordan sued Jewel for violations of right of publicity among other claims. Jewel moved for summary judgment, alleging that the ad amounted to noncommercial speech and was therefore protected under the First Amendment. Jordan filed a cross motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of whether the ad was commercial speech, while agreeing that if the ad was noncommercial speech the First Amendment provided a complete defense. The district court held that the ad was noncommercial speech and entered a final judgement for Jewel. Jordan appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sykes, J.)

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