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As James Dolan Fends Off Oakley Lawsuit Mastro Quotes Warner Wolf As Goes To Video

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 22 – Following the ejection of former Knick Charles Oakley from Madison Square Garden by security guards who had just conferred by James Dolan, a lawsuit has been proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

On December 22 Judge Richard J. Sullivan held arguments. Inner City Press live tweeted them here: 

At issue today: upcoming motions to amend the complaint, and for summary judgment.  Judge Sullivan: "Who's carrying the ball here? You, Mr. Boxer?" Nelson Boxer, for Oakley: I am, your Honor.

 Judge Sullivan: I'm curious how the puppet master who orchestrated the removal of Mr. Oakley was not named. Oakley's lawyer: We did not yet have video of Mr. Dolan, only of the security guard. But the video filed with the motion to dismiss shows Mr Dolan

 Oakley's lawyer: The video shows Dolan conferring with the security guard for 40 seconds. Then they oust him. Judge Sullivan: You alleged that. Why does video change it? Oakley's lawyer: Mr. Dolan gave a hand signal. Then the assault and battery occurred.

Randy Mastro for Dolan: Your Honor had it right. The core of what they are now alleging, they have already said. They said Dolan was attempting to publicly humiliate Oakley. I respect Mr. Boxer, but I have to correct: Mr. Wigdor admitted they had the video

 Mastro: The Arena-cam footage, was given to the D.A.'s office. And Mr. Wigdor said they had that. They talked about Mr. Dolan endorsing it with a thumbs up. They knew everything from Feb. 2018 on. They call him the puppet master. We call him the centerpiece.

Mastro: When it comes to res judicada, you have a defendant, he was dismissed from the case. Game over on Mr Dolan, who has already been dismissed. I'm not going to use basketball analogies like this is a slam dunk, but c'mon - it's game over on amending complaint

 Boxer for Oakley: Directing the removal was not enough to support an aiding and abetting claim. Now we have the video, the thumbs down [sic] -- Judge Sullivan: You had that in 2018. Boxer: There was a colloquy about when to amend.

 Judge Sullivan: Mr Mastro wants to make a motion for summary judgment. The video seems to contradict a fair amount of what's in the complaint - some of it is patently false - potentially a basis for sanctions [!]

 Mastro: We produced all of the Arena footage, leading Oakley out to the NYPD Judge Sullivan: Is that an allegation this was doctored? Or incomplete? Mastro: We produced it all. It's a series of stills. From Oakley's time taken through the tunnels to the NYPDMastro: ESPN was covering the game. There's no question that footage was authentic. There's also YouTube... The courts have everything that they should need. I don't like to have to this, but these are fabrications. Mr. Oakley has not told the truth.

 Mastro for Dolan: Oakley was the aggressor, and, I don't like saying, using profanity, fist in face of a security guard, chopping down on his arms. This is not a man in a defensive posture. This is not a man complying with a request to leave. He got violent....

 Mastro for Dolan: An NYPD officer was nearest to him. I think it's game over. They have a false narrative. They want to show why the security guards approached Mr. Oakley. We're down to the short strokes. It's a revocable license. He could be asked to leave.

Mastro for Dolan: The short stroke we're down to is whether the force used was reasonable. The videos show that it was. "Let's go to the video tape," in the words of the immortal Warner Wolf.

 Mastro for Dolan: I have two short clips, I'd like to show them to the court now.  Judge Sullivan: I wouldn't mind seeing them. Boxer: I object - your rules prohibit showing them. But I defer to your Honor's judgment. Judge Sullivan: You've seen them.

Boxer: He might have cut and paste them. Mastro for Dolan: It's from You Tube. Oakley can't meet his burden of objective unreasonableness. Boxer: Let me speak first. There were two omissions by Mr. Mastro. Reasonableness is best left to the jury.

 Judge Sullivan: Are you aware of any video of six security officials throwing Mr. Oakley to the ground? That is going to be important on this motion for summary judgment

Boxer for Oakley: Force used is measured against the crime or incident. We have no video of him walking into the Garden. Dolan on the Michael Kay show spoke of how Mr. Oakley behaved. Judge Sullivan: You're saying surrounding Mr. Oakley constituted excess force?

 Judge Sullivan: Mr. Oakley basically grabbed onto the railing so he wouldn't be removed from the Garden. Boxer for Oakley: We're entitled to discovery on that -- Judge Sullivan: Nooo, no. You are not. You respond once you see what their motion is.

 Mastro for Dolan: Let's go to the video tape. This picks up as Oakley gets up the first time. It shows how he trips and falls. Declan, take it away. [It's Declan of Gibson Dunn, running the screening.]

 Judge Sullivan: Mr. Boxer, are you disputing the authenticity of the video? Boxer for Oakley: It's just a snapshot. The question is reasonableness under the circumstances. Like when he walked into the Garden.

Judge Sullivan: I'm not doing this for the back pages, I'm not doing this for Page Six. [An aside: Inner City Press SDNY coverage (of #6ix9ine case) in Page Six, here]

Judge Sullivan: If I can be asked to leave any time, it doesn't matter if I peacefully bought a hot dog and a Coke first. I don't care about the concession stand. Let's go to the second video...

Boxer for Oakley: in the 2nd video, they were holding him -- Judge Sullivan: The complaint at Para 47 said he was thrown on the ground. Did we just see that? Boxer for Oakley: I thought I saw that. It went by fast.  Judge Sullivan: I have in mind parallel briefing

Mastro for Dolan: On how much time we need, let me ask Declan, the brains of the operation (laughs) Judge Sullivan: I'm not sure I need much more briefing on the motion to amend. But responding to Summary Judgment, you have to Feb 19. Mastro: We'd like to reply.

Judge Sullivan: OK. I'll issue an order with the schedule. And yes, Mr. Mastro, I'll stay discovery.

Boxer for Oakley: I have a trial, in theory, in mid March. Judge Sullivan: I'll decide if we need more argument.

The case is Oakley v. Dolan et al., 17-cv-6903 (Sullivan)


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