Wigdor LLP represents NBA All-Star Charles “Oak” Oakley in a defamation lawsuit against James Dolan and The Madison Square Garden Company (“MSG”). The lawsuit alleges Defendants Dolan and MSG launched a coordinated and defamatory public relations campaign against Mr. Oakley.
Mr. Oakley, who was traded for the Knicks in June of 1988, was instrumental in ushering one of the most successful eras in Knicks history. Even now, nearly two decades after he stopped playing for the Knicks, Mr. Oakley ranks among the top three players in franchise history in offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, minutes played and steals, making him inarguably the greatest power forward in Knicks history.
As set forth in the complaint, despite the fact that Mr. Oakley never met Mr. Dolan during his playing career, or for several years thereafter, Mr. Dolan constantly disrespected Mr. Oakley, refusing to make eye contact or shake his hand during meetings and even making him purchase his own tickets to Knicks games.
Mr. Dolan’s animosity came to a head on February 8, 2017, when Mr. Oakley was forcibly removed from a Knicks game by MSG security without explanation and publicly embarrassed on live television, according to the complaint. The lawsuit outlines how Mr. Oakley was unlawfully taken outside of the arena, arrested and charged with assault. Notably, as set forth in the complaint, Mr. Oakley was neither intoxicated nor otherwise behaving inappropriately when he arrived at the Garden and was allowed to enter the arena without incident.
The lawsuit further alleges that over the ensuing days Defendants Dolan and MSG launched a coordinated and defamatory public relations campaign against Mr. Oakley in a series of outrageous and patently false statements to the national media, baselessly accusing him of abusing fans and staff, acting inappropriately and struggling with alcoholism.
The lawsuit outlines that this is not the first time Mr. Dolan has attempted to malign individuals who upset him with unsupported accusations that they were alcoholics.
Mr. Oakley seeks damages for the following causes of action: defamation per se, libel, slander, assault, battery, false imprisonment, abuse of process, and denial of a public accommodation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as state and city laws.