Judge grants partial victory to lawyer suing MSG for banning

By KAREN MATTHEWS

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge granted a partial victory Monday to an attorney who sued Madison Square Garden after he and his colleagues were barred from the Garden and other MSG-owned locations because their firm represents a group suing the company.

State Judge Lyle Frank in Manhattan has ruled that Larry Hutcher and other Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP attorneys have the right to attend musical and theatrical performances at the Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theater s they show up with a valid ticket.

“The Court finds of its own motion that there is only one Radio City Music Hall, one Beacon Theater and one Madison Square Garden,” Frank wrote. “As such, the plaintiff is entitled to an injunction.”

The decision does not apply to New York Knicks or New York Rangers games at the Garden. Hutcher, a season ticket holder with the Knicks for more than 40 years, is appealing that part of the decision and still hopes to see the Knicks on the field.

But Hutcher hailed his partial victory, which he said applies to his business and 90 others with customers suing MSG and owner James Dolan.

“It’s a major win,” Hutcher said. “It’s a significant departure from what MSG stood for.”

Hutcher said in his lawsuit filed last month that MSG banned him and his partners because the company represented 24 ticket sellers who were suing MSG for violating New York’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Act.

MSG not only revoked Hutcher’s season tickets, but asserted the right to ban him and the rest of the company entirely from the Garden and other venues, Hutcher said.

MSG argued in response to the lawsuit that the company had the right to ban the attorneys suing it.

“We cannot ignore the fact that litigation creates an inherently adversarial environment, and an incidental consequence of this is our need to protect against inappropriate disclosure and discovery,” a spokesperson said.

But the judge ruled there was no rational basis for the policy ‘except to deter lawyers from suing’.

An email seeking comment on Monday’s decision has been sent to MSG representatives.

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