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Polito Pens MSG Ban Article for Sports Litigation Alert

August 11, 2023 – Commercial Litigation attorney Joseph Polito penned the article “Banned: New York’s Civil Rights Law Sec. 40-b Can Be a Backstop to Madison Square Garden’s (MSG) Efforts to Ban Adverse Counsel” for Sports Litigation Alert, focusing on the application of New York state’s civil rights law against MSG Entertainment’s controversial use of facial recognition technology and the larger implications for future event ticketing.

The article addresses the history of New York Civil Rights Law §40 (NYCRL §40) that barred New York theatre companies from unjustly denying entry to theatre critics, and highlights that only once a person engages in inappropriate or offensive conduct can they be removed from the venue.

By the end of 2022, more than ninety law firms and their counsel were barred from entering MSG Entertainment-owned venues on the basis of adverse litigation against MSG Entertainment and its owner James Dolan. The article compares MSG’s recent practices to venue owners in the twentieth century, which was the basis for New York Civil Rights Law §40.

Polito notes that DHC’s challenge against MSG’s practices awarded them a preliminary injunction that did not extend to sporting events, and MSG’s status as a multi-purpose arena that hosts sporting events as well as entertainment allowed them to continue barring adverse counsel from sporting events.

Although the author acknowledges that NYCRL §40 has some shortcomings, it was key in preventing MSG from wielding excess power against event attendees.

To read the full article, click here.