On November 16, 2020, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of a high-profile lawsuit filed by Wigdor LLP on behalf of former NBA All-Star Charles Oakley against Madison Square Garden (“MSG”). The lawsuit was filed in response to a widely publicized incident in which New York Knicks owner James Dolan appeared to order MSG security to violently eject Mr. Oakley from the arena without justification.
A three-judge appeals panel ruled that the District Court for the Southern District of New York erred when it ruled that Mr. Oakley’s complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim. The Second Circuit found that a jury should be left to decide whether the security guards’ use of force in removing Mr. Oakley was unreasonable.
Mr. Oakley played for the Knicks from 1988 to 1998 and is widely credited with ushering in one of the most successful eras in Knicks history. On February 8, 2017, Mr. Oakley was attending a Knicks game when Mr. Dolan directed MSG security to forcibly remove Mr. Oakley from the arena in an attempt to publicly humiliate him, according to the lawsuit.
Mr. Oakley maintains that he did nothing to provoke the ejection. Rather, Mr. Dolan has clearly harbored intense animosity toward Mr. Oakley — for reasons unbeknownst to him — and decided to wage a campaign to publicly humiliate him and malign his reputation, the lawsuit alleges.
Statement from Charles Oakley:
“I am appreciative of the appeals court as I now have a chance to show the world what I said from day one was true. The truth is going to come out at trial and Dolan will be held responsible for what he did.”
“Charles Oakley’s assault lawsuit is back on after the former NBA star sued New York Knicks owner James Dolan for throwing him out of Madison Square Garden in high-profile 2017 spat”
November 16, 2020