Madison Square Garden Banishes Plaintiff Lawyers

MSG Entertainment, which owns and operates Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, other venues, and restaurants, took a bold step.  It sent a letter to 90 law firms that are in litigation with MSG stating, “Neither you, nor any other attorney employed at your firm, may enter the Company’s venues until final resolution of the litigation.”  The purpose of the ban was to prevent said lawyers from collecting evidence “outside proper litigation discovery channels.”

MSG then used facial recognition technology to turn the lawyers away. Lawyers then did what they are trained to do, they sued MSQ. Lawyers are not a protected class, yet.  So, anti-discrimination laws do not apply. The NBA does not prohibit the use of facial recognition.

So, the lawyers relied on a 1941 New York law that prohibits entertainment venues from denying admission unless the patron has become abusive. The law was drafted by an ACLU attorney for a theater critic who had been banished from 30 theaters.  Tough to pan a play when you haven’t seen it.

A court has granted a temporary injunction against MSG’s ban until things can be sorted out, well, in litigation over litigation. MSG has appealed. The lawyers are making the litigation about the dangers of using facial recognition technology.

Facial recognition is the tool for implementing the ban.  The issue is whether business owners can decide who gets to enter their establishments.  As the attorney for MSG pointed out to the judge in one of the cases, “Lawyers sometimes alienate people.”  He added that when he was a prosecutor cracking down on the mafia, “There are some Italian restaurants I couldn’t get a reservation at.  I didn’t sue them.”

It seems lawyers have hit an occupational hazard that affects their social lives. Hell hath no fury like a slip-and-fall lawyer banished from Knicks games and Phish concerts.

Kashmir Hill, “Arena Ban on Lawyers Fails to Stick,” New York Times, January 17, 2023, p. B1.



About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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