In what at least one judge has called the “the stupidest thing I've ever read,” the owners of Madison Square Garden have written to law firms to inform them that if they are suing Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. (MSG), all lawyers from the suing firm will be banned from any of the venues they operate.
MSG owns and operates Madison Square Garden, The Beacon Theatre, and Radio City Musical Hall, among other venues. As one can imagine, MSG is involved in litigation from time to time, including two different sets of minority shareholders asserting that MSG’s controlling shareholders, members of the billionaire Dolan family, improperly orchestrated a merger for their own benefit. MSG properties have also been sued by persons suffering personal injuries alleging negligent conditions.
In court, an MSG attorney argued that “I think people have the right, private parties, have the right to decide not to do business with people who sue them.” MSG has been using facial recognition technology to identify lawyers from the banned firms and denying them entrance to their venues.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Lyle Frank, of Manhattan, ruled on November 14, 2022, that plaintiff lawyers, who sued over the MSG ban, “may not be denied entry into any shows where they possess a valid ticket.” “There appears to be no rational basis for the policy instituted by the [MSG] except to dissuade attorneys from bringing suit,” Frank wrote. Nonetheless, Justice Frank ruled that MSG was within their rights to not sell tickets to the lawyers, and can rescind tickets previously sold to the lawyers. The plaintiff’s lawyers understood this to mean that as long as they possessed a valid ticket when entering, whether purchased from MSG or a re-seller, they could not be denied entry.
Nonetheless, MSG persisted in their position, writing a letter to one law firm: “This letter shall again serve as notice to you and all of the lawyers at your firm (“Affected Attorneys”) that they are subject to uniform Company policy and will not be admitted to MSG Venues until your firm’s litigation against the Company is resolved.” The letter went on to state that any tickets to MSG Venues they previously acquired – or will acquire in the future – whether purchased from MSG, a reseller, or a third party, are hereby revoked and deemed invalid.
Obviously, we can expect more litigation as to the rights of each side. First, the Dolans banned former Knicks star Charles Oakley from MSG. Now, they are banning lawyers from all of their venues. Who will be next, and should MSG be allowed to ban law abiding ticket paying customers from their venues?
The law firm of Zalman, Schnurman, & Miner is experienced in handling all kinds of personal injury cases. All consultations are free and each case is handled on a contingency fee basis. For a free consultation call 1-800-LAWLINE (1-800-529-5463) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.