Home Legal Update Legal slam dunk for Charles Oakley in a long-running battle with Madison Square Garden

Legal slam dunk for Charles Oakley in a long-running battle with Madison Square Garden

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Legal slam dunk for Charles Oakley in a long-running battle with Madison Square Garden

NEW YORK — New York Knicks fan favorite Charley Oakley scored a legal slam dunk in his long-running feud with Madison Square Garden and owner James Dolan.

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A Manhattan federal appeals court reinstated Oakley’s lawsuit against the World’s Most Famous Arena over his 2017 ejection from the Garden while attending a game as a fan — and opened the door for the one-time power forward to add Dolan as a defendant.

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“We cannot conclude as a matter of law that no reasonable jury could conclude that the defendants gave Oakley a reasonable opportunity to depart, and that they then used only reasonable force,” read the 11-page decision vacating a 2021 ruling.

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Oakley’s attorney Douglas Wigdor hailed the decision overturning the lower court order affirming the ban largely on video footage.

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“We are obviously thrilled with the Second Circuit’s decision and look forward to holding MSG and Dolan accountable for their actions,” he said.

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Oakley, 59, emerged in retirement as a vocal critic of the polarizing Dolan’s tenure atop the Garden before his caught-on-camera removal from the Feb. 8, 2017, game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Charges of assault, harassment and trespass against Oakley were dismissed in August 2017 after he agreed to avoid any further trouble for six months and stay out of MSG for a year.

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MSG issued a statement after the incident expressing their hope that Oakley would get help for his issues as the legal battle continued across the next six years, including a February 2020 dismissal of the hoopster’s lawsuit in a ruling subsequently overturned.

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On Friday, the Garden responded to the latest court twist in the protracted legal battle.

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“This matter should be behind all of us at this point, but because of the ongoing legal maneuverings of Charles Oakley and his lawyers, this case will apparently now have to continue,” Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. said in a statement. “Nevertheless, we fully expect this case to be dismissed — for the third time.”

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The hard-nosed player teamed with Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing on the Knicks teams of the 1990s, emerging as a popular figure among the team’s die-hard fan base.

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“The only video record of Oakley’s initial encounter with the security guards does not compel the conclusions that (he) was provided a reasonable opportunity to leave the Garden and that any force used by the guards during that initial encounter was reasonable,” the three judges wrote.

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There was no immediate response to the ruling from the Garden, which prevailed in the earlier court decision finding the force used was “indisputably reasonable and appropriate.”

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But the new ruling found the video evidence “does not compel as a matter of law the conclusion” that the MSG defendants’ use of force was reasonable.

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“In addition, given the limitation of video evidence in this case, limiting discovery may affect Oakley’s substantial rights,” the panel found.

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©2023 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

this story was originally published May 5, 2023, 2:20 PM.

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