An attorney for Madison Square Garden and James Dolan, the Garden’s executive chairman and CEO, has asked a federal judge to dismiss Charles Oakley’s civil lawsuit that stems from the former Knicks player’s televised scuffle with MSG security at a game in February 2017.
Randy Mastro, an attorney for Dolan and MSG, said in a 49-page March 30 filing that the lawsuit should be dismissed because “Oakley’s removal and arrest were the inevitable consequence of his own actions that night. He has no one to blame but himself.”
Oakley’s civil lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court last September, accuses Dolan of defamation and slander for his comments in an ESPN Radio interview in the aftermath of the incident, which occurred in the first quarter of a Knicks-Clippers game.
The lawsuit also accuses MSG of assault, battery, abuse of power and false imprisonment for the treatment of Oakley that night. Oakley seeks unspecified damages.
“In an effort to save face in the eyes of the public, Oakley tries to make scapegoats of MSG and Jim Dolan, blaming them for problems of his own making,” Mastro said.
After the scuffle with MSG security, Oakley was arrested and charged with five misdemeanors of assault, harassment and trespassing. Those charges were dropped two months ago as part of a deal reached in August 2017 in which Oakley also agreed to stay away from Madison Square Garden for a year.
Mastro’s court filing also says “the harm that Plaintiff Charles Oakley caused to himself and others — including the MSG security guards he assaulted in full view of NYPD officers — is a sad, even heartbreaking fall from grace for this self-described Knicks legend.”
When reached for comment on the MSG filing, Douglas Wigdor, Oakley’s attorney, said: “James Dolan should just apologize for the way Knicks legend Charles Oakley was treated rather than file a needless motion that attempts to extricate himself from the fate of a jury trial in this matter. We will vigorously oppose this latest filing.”