Former New York Knicks player Charles Oakley’s lawsuit over a 2017 fight that led to his ouster from Madison Square Garden has been revived by a federal appeals court panel.
Madison Square Garden CEO and Chief Sports Officer James Dolan reportedly ordered Oakley’s ejection from a Knicks-Clippers game that year.
Oakley had been openly critical of Dolan’s tenure as owner of the Knicks.
The court filing showed that Oakley claims that MSG security personnel used unnecessary force to remove Oakley from the game on February 8, 2017.
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The injunction vacated a lower court’s decision to dismiss the case, now giving Oakley the opportunity to sue MSG. Oakley can add Dolan to the lawsuit as a defendant.
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When the case went before Judge Richard Sullivan in 2020, he ruled that the former NBA player «was unable to assert a plausible legal claim.» But several months later, the case was revived by the Court of Appeals in November. Sullivan decided to dismiss the case again in 2021.
A video of the incident, which has since gone viral, shows Oakley being removed from the arena.
On Friday, a three-judge panel heard oral arguments and decided that a jury should decide the dispute.
«In this case, the sole video record of Oakley’s initial encounter with security guards does not compel the conclusion that Oakley was given a reasonable opportunity to leave the Garden and that any force used by the guards during that initial encounter was reasonable,» he added. three judges wrote.
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«Given the material disputes over whether and when security guards pushed Oakley, we cannot conclude as a matter of law that no reasonable jury could conclude that the defendants gave Oakley a reasonable opportunity to leave, and then used only reasonable force.»
Under New York law, MSG had the legal right to evict Oakley, however the legal issue is whether the security guards used unnecessary force.
Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. said in a statement Friday that it is confident the case will be dismissed again.
«This matter should be behind us at this point, but due to ongoing legal maneuvering by Charles Oakley and his attorneys, it appears this case will now have to continue. However, we expect this case to be dismissed, for the third time. «. time.»»
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Oakley was named to the NBA All-Star team in 1994 and played for the Knicks from 1988 to 1998. MSG has the right to appeal the decision to the full Second Circuit.