A longtime season ticket holder who went one-on-one with James Dolan after being banned from games at Madison Square Garden got a partial victory from a judge who charged the feisty Knicks owner with a blocking foul.
Not only was lawyer Larry Hutcher banned from his favorite team’s home games, but his entire law firm was sidelined from the Garden and all of the corporation’s other venues after Hutcher sued Dolan and his company on behalf of several clients on an unrelated ticket matter.
Off limits to Hutcher and his firm, Davidoff Hutcher Citron, were Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theater and the Hulu Theater at MSG.
That meant Hutcher and nearly 60 people at his firm who had nothing to do with the original ticket matter would have been banned from popular spectacles like “The Christmas Show” at Radio City and “Disney on Ice.”
Hutcher, 71, also had his season tickets, which he had held for nearly 50 years, revoked.
But under a Manhattan judge’s ruling, Dolan has to open the doors to the other venues. The ban on Knicks and Rangers games remains in place.
“They were under the belief that they could bar anybody at any time for no reason at all,” Hutcher said. “Rather than just defend the case on the merits, Dolan said we’re going to ban you and all the lawyers in your firm.”
The ruckus began over Hutcher’s representation of 24 ticket resellers in a lawsuit against the Garden after their Knicks season tickets were not renewed due to their secondary-market business, with MSG asserting the resales violated city law.
A Garden spokeswoman, Natalie Ravitz, said in a statement that the corporation would appeal Monday’s ruling.
“Let’s be clear,” Ravitz said. “Today, the Court again affirmed our absolute right to both deny the sale of tickets to Mr. Hutcher and other attorneys engaged in active litigation against the company and to revoke any tickets that they obtain.
“It is not unreasonable that while in active litigation, we would want to preserve our right to protect ourselves against improper disclosure and discovery. That is why we instituted this policy and we have repeatedly made clear that once litigation is resolved, impacted attorneys will be allowed back in our venues.”
In recent years, Dolan and MSG brass have clashed with fan favorite Charles Oakley and uber-fan Spike Lee. Even Hall-of-famer Patrick Ewing had a run-in with Garden officials after being asked to show his credentials while walking in the building.
As for Hutcher, it was just a few years ago that he was having happier times. The team had issued him a keepsake jersey and honored him for 40 years as a season ticket holder.
Hutcher said there is one silver lining to the ban.
“I don’t feel bad about missing these horrible games,” he remarked. “I’d be a lot more disappointed if they had a better record at home.”