Attorney Larry Hutcher, who's banned from Madison Square Garden, speaks out
NEW YORK - Attorney Larry Hutcher, one of the lawyers barred from Madison Square Garden through facial recognition technology, is speaking out after FOX 5 New York’s exclusive interview last week with MSG CEO James Dolan.
"If somebody sues you, right, that's confrontational, its adversarial, and fine, people are allowed to sue. Right. But, at the same time, if you're being sued, right, you don't have to welcome the person into your home," Dolan said.
But Hutcher claims what they have sworn under oath is that the reason for the ban is to prevent a violation of ethical rules.
Hutcher also spoke on the issue of tickets, Ticketmaster and people not being able to buy tickets.
Hutcher said what controls the pricing is the market. He claims if Dolan gets his way and Ticketmaster is the exclusive only one that can resell tickets, they can create a low price as opposed to a free market. Hutcher claims the ticket resellers are providing a service by creating an actual market.
The lawyer ban came to light in October 2022 when Hutcher, a New York Knicks season ticket holder for nearly 50 years, was told his seats had been revoked because his law firm was representing ticket resellers that were suing MSG.
He filed a lawsuit in response, claiming he and nearly 60 lawyers from his firm were barred from the company's properties. Hutcher said in the suit that MSG took the action against he and his partners at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP after he became lead counsel for 24 ticket resellers who were suing MSG for violating New York’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Law.
Two weeks later, Hutcher received a letter informing him that the attorneys were barred and that his tickets, which he owned since 1976 and had already paid to renew for this season, were revoked.
MSG said it instituted a policy in June that precludes attorneys from firms engaged in litigation against the company from attending events at its venues until that litigation has been resolved.
The ban not only applies to Knicks and Rangers games at Madison Square Garden, but also concerts at the venue and its properties such as Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theater.
It also comes after the attorney general's office said in a letter to MSG Entertainment that the ban, and the company's use of facial recognition technology to enforce it, may violate anti-discrimination laws and may dissuade lawyers from taking on cases such as sexual harassment or job discrimination claims against the company.
Since then, other lawyers have come forward with stories about being blocked from concerts, sports events and shows including the Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular.
The policy potentially affects thousands of lawyers at scores of firms and is being enforced through the use of technology that scans the faces of people entering venues owned by MSG and checks them against a databank of lawyers from banned firms.
The attorney general's office said research has shown that facial recognition software "may be plagued with biases and false positives against people of color and women."
The attorney general is asking MSG to respond by Feb. 13 and identify efforts the company is making to ensure compliance with applicable anti-discrimination laws.
In a statement, a representative for MSG said the policy "does not unlawfully prohibit anyone from entering our venues and it is not our intent to dissuade attorneys from representing plaintiffs in litigation against us. We are merely excluding a small percentage of lawyers only during active litigation."
The statement continued, "Our policy has never applied to attorneys representing plaintiffs who allege sexual harassment or employment discrimination."
MSG representatives have previously also said it wasn't "unreasonable" that MSG would want to protect against "improper disclosure and discovery" during active litigation.