Michael Jordan doesn’t want to be treated like a piece of meat. When Dominick’s food stores used his name and famous number 23 in a congratulatory ad on his induction in the Hall of Fame, while also adding a $2 off coupon for steak, he sued. The lawsuit seeks $5 million in damages for the one-time ad used without Jordan’s permission, claiming that is the fair market value of Jordan’s image, and Dominick’s shouldn’t benefit by paying less.
The federal judge in the case, Milton Shadur, has labeled the lawsuit “greedy” according to the Chicago Tribune. The judge has already ruled that Dominick’s is liable; the issue remaining is the amount of damages. This week, he ordered Jordan to appear for an off-the-record pre-trial settlement conference in person. “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 in a hearing ordering this meeting.
Jordan attended the conference in person Wednesday, coming in through the basement garage and into a private elevator. His lawyer had previously argued that he should not appear, but the judge said to Jordan’s attorney at the last hearing: “Are you allergic to the notion that he somehow ought to participate in a lawsuit that he brought?”
According to the lawyer, the lawsuit is still headed to trial after the settlement conference.