Caught in the act: MSG slapped with fine over attorney entry ban

June 29, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Lyle Frank ruled that Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp’s policy of refusing entry to attorneys with valid tickets is a violation of Civil Rights Law Section 40-b.

The decision comes as part of an ongoing lawsuit filed by the law firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron against the entertainment corporation last year, which claims that the policy goes against civil rights laws.

Myron Rabij, an attorney at the firm, was turned away from a Hulu Theatre event in April, despite holding a valid ticket. It was alleged that MSG’s counsel, Harold Weidenfeld, personally escorted Rabij from the premises after facial recognition technology identified him. Judge Frank found in favor of Rabij, agreeing that his right to entry had been breached as his ticket had not been revoked at the time of the event.

MSG’s representative, Randy Mastro, previously argued that a ban could invalidate a ticket even if it was imposed after the ticket was purchased. However, the judge dismissed this argument, maintaining that ticket revocations must be specific in terms of time, date, and seat location.

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Judge Frank deemed the maximum penalty appropriate given the defendant’s continuous and knowing violation of the law. Although Rabij originally sought a refund for his $162.35 ticket, the judge awarded him a judgment of $662.35.

MSG’s policy of excluding attorneys from any firm engaged in litigation against the corporation, termed the “adverse attorney policy,” has provoked a string of lawsuits and a New York State Liquor Authority investigation. The Davidoff Hutcher & Citron firm has also accused MSG of breaching privacy laws by using facial recognition technology.

However, Mastro contended that the firm’s accusations are unfounded, arguing that the images were not used for profit, but to deny access. In a separate order, Judge Frank dismissed the firm’s privacy claims and agreed that they failed to state a claim. MSG remains confident that it will prevail on this issue in the Appellate Division.


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