Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan has reached a settlement with supermarket Jewel-Osco and now-defunct chain Dominick’s over a pair of ads in a 2009 commemorative edition of Sports Illustrated that allegedly contained unauthorized use of his name, according to spokespeople for both sides.
Jordan last week reached an undisclosed deal with Dominick’s, which operated under supermarket chain Safeway, and Jewel, whose parent company Albertsons merged with Safeway, Jordan’s spokeswoman, Estee Portnoy, said Sunday.
U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey on Friday vacated the rest of the court dates for Jordan’s claim against Dominick’s, according to court documents. Also on Friday, U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman vacated the court dates involving Jewel.
“The terms of the agreement are confidential, but we are pleased to have reached a resolution of these matters,” Albertsons spokesman Brian Dowling said in a statement Sunday.
Portnoy declined to discuss specifics of the deal, including how it might affect the colossal $8.9 million judgment against Dominick’s in August.
However, she said Jordan plans to donate the net sum of the settlement to Chicago-area charities and will make an announcement by year’s end.
Both Jewel and Jordan were prepared to go to trial in December.
Dominick’s and Jewel placed ads in a special issue of Sports Illustrated celebrating the star’s induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Though there are differences between the two cases — Dominick’s was found liable by the court ahead of trial for its unauthorized ad comparing Jordan to a cut-price steak, while Jewel’s liability for what appears to be a less egregious unauthorized use would have been determined by a jury — the Dominick’s case may have set the bar for a resolution, legal experts said in August.
The $8.9 million judgment was seen as a triumph for Jordan. It dwarfed the $126,900 that an expert hired by Dominick’s, who also was expected to be the main defense witness for Jewel, said it should pay.
Feinerman in September warned lawyers for Jewel that there was “little chance” a jury would not find it liable for its ad, which used Jewel’s tagline to suggest that for Chicagoans, Jordan was, like Jewel supermarkets, “just around the corner.”
After past court appearances, Jordan’s lawyer, Fred Sperling, declined to comment when asked if that meant a grand resolution to both cases could be reached under which Dominick’s abandons its appeal in return for a more modest settlement of the Jewel case.