Knicks owner James Dolan to file motion to dismiss Charles Oakley's defamation suit

The feud between James Dolan and Charles Oakley continues into the courtroom. After Oakley was forcibly removed from Madison Square Garden last February, the Knicks owner responded by briefly banning him from Madison Square Garden, and mentioning Oakley has a drinking problem. 

Oakley responded to Dolan by bringing him to court for a defamation suit. He says what took place at the Knicks game in February was an unnecessary use of force on the part of Dolan, and MSG, along with calling him an alcoholic. Dolan's attorneys are now filing a request to have the suit dismissed.

Attorneys for Knicks owner James Dolan told a Federal Judge Monday that Dolan plans to file a motion to dismiss a defamation suit brought by former Knicks forward Charles Oakley.  

via AmyDash.com

Dolan's defense is that Oakley's behavior at MSG that night required removal. He claims that Oakley took his seat and began insulting security. Amy Dash, a CBS Sports Legal Analyst, broke down the suit in detail on her website:

In the three page letter to the court, Dolan's attorneys accuse Oakley of having, "a long, documented history of altercations with law enforcement and security personnel" and called the February 8, 2017 incident at MSG, where Oakley clashed with MSG guards and was hauled out of the Garden screaming during a Clippers game, just the latest example of his "recidivist behavior."

Comparing him to a repeat offender, Dolan's attorneys directed the court to another lawsuit filed in 2011 between Oakley and the Aria Resort and Casino which details, "prior incidents in which Oakley cursed, punched, kicked, and bit security guards trying to restrain him and threw a bystander's camera into a hotel pool; punched a guard in the face; and sent a hotel employee to the hospital by throwing dice at his face."

...

Oakley's Lawsuit 

Oakley's defamation suit, which was filed back in September, seeks unspecified damages from the Knicks owner and accuses Dolan and MSG & its personnel of defaming Oakley by saying he was "subject[ing] other individuals to abusive conduct," "commit[ting] assault," and "being an alcoholic"

Oakley's lawsuit also accuses Dolan and the MSG Company of false imprisonment, abuse of process & assault & battery pertaining to his detention and subsequent arrest. In an unusual legal maneuver Oakley threw in a claim for  denial of public accommodation (accusing Dolan of discriminating against him based upon the perception that Oakley is an "alcoholic", which is a disability, even though Oakley denies that he is actually an alcoholic). 

Dolan's attorneys told the Judge they plan to strike down these claims with counterarguments.

Dolan's Defense 

To succeed on his defamation claim, Oakley must prove that Dolan maliciously broadcast or published false factual statements about him. But Dolan's attorneys claim that Dolan's statements were just "opinions," italicizing qualifying language Dolan used to preface the statements, "To me, Charles has got a problem."; "He may have a problem with alcohol." (emphases added)). It should be noted that Dolan showed up to his ESPN interview where he made the above comments with a large binder marked, "Preparation."

Regarding Oakley's false imprisonment accusations, Dolan's team says the claim should fail because "Oakley was detained and arrested by NYPD officers who had probable cause to confine him based on their direct observations of his unlawful conduct at the Game, and he was in fact charged with several crimes stemming from the arrest." 

This is a feud between Oakley and Dolan that has been building up for years. The two have never had a good public relationship with Oakley once calling Dolan a "bad guy" and based on the information presented by Dash, this case is about to get a lot uglier if it goes to court.

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