COLUMBUS -- Yes, even the Ohio Supreme Court and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court have an Olympic connection.

With the official Opening Ceremony today for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, it's interesting to note that the Ohio Supreme Court decided an Olympic-related case in 1984 -- another Olympics year when the Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles and the Winter Olympics were held in Sarjevo.

The dispute centered on the American Can Company, Coca-Cola Company, and Minute Maid Corporation promoting the likenesses of Olympic athletes on disposable Dixie cups in commemoration of the 1980 Olympic Games, according to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Clevelander Charles Vinci, a gold medal winner in 1956 and 1960 in weightlifting, sued the companies in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court for using his name and likeness without his permission and sought damages.

Vinci asked the trial court to certify the case as a class action, which it did.

The appeals court affirmed the trial court's class action certification, and the Supreme Court affirmed the appeals court.

As for the eventual outcome of the case (Vinci v. American Can Company), the Eighth District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision by ruling in 1990 that the reference to the athletes' names, likenesses, and identities without their permission was merely incidental, historical information and that "there was no implication that the athletes used, supported, or promoted the product."

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