I had to go to Miami to see Knicks

A Big Apple lawyer banned from Madison Square Garden sporting events because of a case against the stadium told an appellate court Tuesday that he had to go all the way to Miami to see his beloved New York Knicks.

Larry Hutcher – a partner at the taboo law firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron – lamented to the five judges during oral arguments, “I have had New York Knicks season tickets for 47 years, and I sued once, and I had to go to Miami to see them.”

In September, MSG — led by CEO James Dolan –notified Hutcher’s firm that all of its nearly 60 lawyers could not attend the famous sports venue while its lawyers represented a client in a case against the Garden.

Hutcher and the company sued a month later, with the partner claiming he’d already paid $18,000 for his season tickets for the Knicks’ 2022 to 2023 season.

His firm won a partial victory when a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled its lawyers could attend all MSG venues for non-sports-related events. But that didn’t help Hutcher when it came to his Knicks.

Larry Hutcher holding a sign saying "HEY DOLAN A BAN CAN'T STOP THIS KNICK FAN."
Larry Hutcher – who is banned from MSG – was forced to catch his beloved Knicks in Miami.
Courtesy Larry Hutcher

Hutcher appealed the portion of the ruling limiting the firm to non-sports-related events, while MSG appealed the preliminary injunction allowing the firm into its venues for occasions other than sports.

Meanwhile, Hutcher took his love for his basketball team on the road.

The die-hard fan saw his home team play in Miami on Friday, when it defeated the Heat.

A smiling Hutcher can be seen in a photo obtained by The Post at the Florida game holding a sign saying, “HEY DOLAN A BAN CAN’T STOP THIS KNICK FAN.”

Larry Hutcher
Hutcher and the nearly 60 lawyers at firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron are all barred from sports events at MSG because of litigation against the venue.
Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP

Hutcher introduced himself to the Appellate Division, First Department, on Tuesday saying, “I am Larry Hutcher and I’m banned from Madison Square Garden and that is very disturbing to me.”

He argued to the panel of judges that he believes MSG’s blanket ban would have a “chilling effect” on other lawyers who might back down in the future from taking on clients who were litigating against the arena for fear of being kept from attending events there.

“This injunction applies to 60 lawyers in my firm,” Hutcher said. “There are no violent felons. … We are not disturbing the peace. This is all an attempt to continue to chill lawyers.

“This is a vindictive act against attorneys.”

James Dolan
MSG CEO James Dolan has allegedly used facial recognition technology to keep certain lawyers out.
Ethan Miller

But MSG lawyer Randy Mastro fired back, “To me, that’s an insult to lawyers who do what we do. Mr. Hutcher has not been chilled in his advocacy.”

Mastro said it is MSG’s prerogative to allow in or keep out whichever attendees it sees fit.

“The common law for over a 100 years has been that there is the absolute authority of the entertainment venue operator to decide who can and can’t use their property,” Mastro argued.

“A private property owner has a a right to say, ‘I don’t want to do business with people who sue me,’ ” Mastro said.

Madison Square Garden
MSG has banned at least two other firms involved in litigation against the arena.
Getty Images

MSG banned at least two other firms involved in merger litigation last year, and the arena has controversially employed facial recognition to stop at least three lawyers from entering the venue.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has warned Dolan that the “dystopian” use of the technology to keep people out could violate state and federal laws.

The appeals court will issue a ruling at a later date.

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