Madison Square Garden has reportedly banned a New York City law firm and its lawyers from attending events at any of its venues. Their crime? Representing clients who have filed a lawsuit against the venue or teams alleging they have violated New York law related to tickets and ticket resale by cancelling ticket accounts found to have been involved in resale.
“I had people that had tickets for Eric Clapton and concerts at the Beacon; they couldn’t use them,” Larry Hutcher told the New York Times in an interview. “They are angry at me. They go, ‘What did we do?’”
Hutcher, 71, is co-founder and co-partner at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP and has been a season ticket holder for the New York Knicks since the 1975-76 season. But he and his firm’s attorney’s are persona non grata at many of New York’s venues, including the Garden, Hulu Theater, Beacon Theatre and Radio City Music Hall.
“This has never happened to me or anyone I know,” says Eric Zagar, a partner at another firm that was banned from the venues over similar litigation, who has practiced law for 25 years. “It was shocking and kind of hilarious and ridiculous.”
It was only nine days after a lawsuit was filed by 24 ticket resellers alleging that MSG or its component organizations had broken the law by voiding season ticket accounts or tickets it had deemed held by resellers that Hutcher and his team were informed of their ban from the venues. Since that point, Hutcher and others have filed an additional lawsuit against the organization over the bans, alleging what they believe is a “misguided” and “erroneous” interpretation of the bar association rules cited in the MSG decision to ban them, as well as a violation of New York Civil Rights law.
The arguments made in the resale lawsuit are actually fairly similar to those being made against the organization regarding its stripping tickets and ticket accounts from resellers – that the organization is either misinterpreting or outright ignoring the state’s Arts and Cultural Affairs law that prohibits such actions. Hutcher’s firm also represented resellers who sued the New York Yankees in similar circumstances in 2019.
“The Yankees have used a pretext to rescind tickets that were otherwise legally purchased solely because the plaintiffs are resellers,” argued attorney Hutcher at the time. “They are not permitted to do that. The plaintiffs [ACS] have done nothing wrong. They bought the tickets. They followed the rules and they are entitled to sell them or resell them as many times as they want without any fear that the Yankees can use that as an excuse to rescind these tickets.”
The Yankee organization settled the lawsuit soon after, restoring the tickets to Hutcher’s clients.
New York’s Arts and Cultural Affairs laws protect consumers from event operators stripping their rights to attend events over them having sold tickets legally purchased for events in the state. It was renewed – against strong opposition from organizations like Live Nation and MSG – earlier this year.
Last Updated on October 14, 2022 by Dave Clark