Charles Oakley Loses Case Against Knicks’ James Dolan


The New York Knicks are losing on the basketball court, but Knicks owner James Dolan got a win on Wednesday when a lawsuit brought by former Knick Charles Oakley was dismissed by a Manhattan federal judge.

Oakley sued Dolan for defamation, assault, and false imprisonment after a Feb. 2017 incident at a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. He was tossed out after a brawl with security. Dolan who was in attendance, claims that Oakley was drunk and belligerent. Oakley was banned from MSG for one year after the incident.

Judge Richard Sullivan said that Oakley failed to make a plausible legal argument.

“From its inception, this case has had the feel of a public relations campaign, with the parties seemingly more interested in the court of public opinion than the merits of their legal arguments. That is perhaps understandable, given the personal and public nature of the dispute,” Sullivan said in his ruling. “But while basketball fans in general, and Knicks fans in particular, are free to form their own opinions about who was in the right and whether Oakley’s ejection was motivated by something more than the whims of the teams owner, the fact remains that Oakley has failed to allege a plausible legal claim that can meet federal pleading standards.”

“Oakley grossly misunderstands the law concerning a landlord’s right to remove a trespasser from its property. The law is clear that the MSG defendants had the right to expel Oakley from the Garden and that his refusal to leave justified their use of reasonable force to remove him,” Sullivan said.


Douglas Wigdor, Oakley’s attorney, said they aren’t giving up.

“It’s just the beginning of the fourth quarter, and we are confident that we can turn this around with an appeal that we plan to file in the coming days,” Wigdor said in a statement.

Madison Square Garden said in a statement that maybe there will be peace between them and Oakley now. However, peace between Oakley and Dolan won’t happen anytime soon, as Oakley is appealing the decision.


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