Charles Oakley Files Civil Lawsuit Against James Dolan and MSG for Defamation, Libel and Assault
Former Knicks big man Charles Oakley has filed a lawsuit against Madison Square Garden and Knicks owner James Dolan related to his February arrest at the arena.
ESPN’s Ian Begley and Adrian Wojnarowski repored late Monday night that the suit was coming, and it was officially filed Tuesday morning. The suit names Dolan, MSG Networks, The Madison Square Garden Company and MSG Sports & Entertainment as defendants. It accuses the parties of defamation, libel, slander, assault, battery and false imprisonment.
Oakley was arrested and charged with four misdemeanors after Garden security staff forcibly removed him from his courtside seat at owner James Dolan’s request. The Knicks claimed in a statement on the night of Oakley’s arrest that he was behaving “in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner” and “we hope he gets some help.”
Dolan insinuated in a subsequent radio interview that Oakley may have a problem with alcohol and anger management issues. SI legal expert Michael McCann noted after the interview that Oakley could sue Dolan for defamation over those comments.
“Defendant Dolan’s statements were and are entirely without basis in fact, as Defendant Dolan was well aware,” the suit reads. “Mr. Oakley has never had a problem with excessive anger nor has he ever abused alcohol or any other drug.”
The assault, battery and false imprisonment allegations, which do not name Dolan as a defendant, stem from Oakley’s physical removal from his seat.
Oakley reached a plea deal last month to resolve the criminal case against him. All charges will be dropped if he stays out of trouble for six months and keeps away from MSG for a year.