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🧩 EXCLUSIVE interview with MSG-banned attorney

PLUS: NY AG kicks off MSG facial-recognition inquiry

Lookzy: all your daily legal news in 0.1 billable hours. Litigation, deals, lateral moves and industry news; we cover it all. 

Welcome to Lookzy Today is a very special edition of Lookzy. In today's Lookzy, we sit down for an exclusive interview with a lawyer who is banned from Madison Square Garden because of his firm's work representing an individual suing the company. We discuss:

  • Getting a TRO to go see Jerry Seinfeld perform

  • Barring lawyers as a matter of public policy

  • MSG's use of facial recognition technology

EXCLUSIVE: LOOKZY INTERVIEWS MSG-BANNED ATTORNEY; NY AG KICKS OFF INQUIRY

Madison Square Garden has a reputation for big games, high-profile concerts and... some retaliatory tactics against lawyers representing plaintiffs suing the company. 

We reported previously on Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp.'s history of banning lawyers involved in litigation against the company from entering MSG or its other venues. This policy has generally been applied not just to lawyers directly involved in the suit, but to all lawyers at that firm, and attorneys have reported being barred or removed from an event at a MSG property. Some barred attorneys have been rumored to use tactics such as growing out their facial hair to evade MSG's facial recognition technology, which it uses to flag attorneys.  

Yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James initiated an inquiry into MSG's practices, sending a letter to MSG asking for justification of the policy and noting that the policy "could violate local, state and federal human rights laws, including laws prohibiting retaliation." The NY AG's letter notes that as many as 90 law firms and thousands of lawyers may be impacted by MSG's policy. This follows news of a New York state bill introduced Monday which would prohibit this practice. Even the NY State Liquor Authority is reportedly threatening to suspend MSG's liquor license.  

Lookzy sat down with Matthew Greenberg of Greenberg Law PC, a NY-area personal injury firm involved in litigation against MSG, about Matt's experience being barred from attending any MSG-hosted event. Matt is currently a trial attorney at Greenberg Law, prior to which he worked as a commercial litigation associate at a NYC-based BigLaw firm.

Please tell us about your involvement with MSG.

Matt: We represent an individual who was punched in the face at a Rangers game during last year’s playoffs. We allege that MSG entities are liable for this incident and filed a lawsuit against them. Soon after serving our complaint, we received a letter stating every lawyer at our firm was banned from all MSG buildings, including MSG, Beacon Theater, Hulu Theater, Radio City Music Hall and more.

My father, Alan Greenberg, had tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld at Beacon Theater, so we filed a temporary restraining order (TRO) seeking a court order granting him permission to see the show. The TRO was granted and he saw the show, but as of now NY State courts have only issued narrow decisions that do not universally apply to all banned law firms and do not include sporting events (Rangers, Knicks), only other types of entertainment like comedy shows and concerts.

Have you tried to attend events at MSG since being barred from entering?

Matt: I have not, but I am frequently invited to Knicks and Rangers games by friends and I have to politely decline. I consider myself a big Knicks/Rangers fan, and from that perspective it’s a shame I can’t go to their home games. It further disappoints me that I can’t take my 3-year old son to a Knicks game - he has known their entire roster by heart since he was 2 and recently asked me to take him to a Knicks game.

But more importantly, it’s not just personally disappointing to me - as a matter of public policy, MSG’s blanket ban on all attorneys who bring suit against them is unjust and hurts all New Yorkers. It’s a transparent attempt to prevent lawyers from accepting cases against them, and that hurts not just lawyers like me, but all New Yorkers with rightful claims against MSG.

Do you think it is appropriate for MSG to use facial recognition technology to enforce their policy?

Matt: In terms of facial recognition technology - that is used to stop terrorism and crime. Using it to identify and bar your perceived enemies from entering your businesses is a slippery slope. What’s next? Barring critics who gave you negative reviews from coming to your theaters? I think this type of technology is intrusive and there are serious privacy concerns at play. Our legislators need to think deeply about the implications of allowing businesses to use facial recognition however they so please.

Note: this interview was lightly edited for brevity. 

Thanks to Matt Greenberg for speaking about his experience. You can find out more about Greenberg Law P.C. at CallGreenberg.com. 

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THE VERDICT

Arguing today's litigation news

AI lawyer backtrack.  Legal AI company DoNotPay announced it will give up on its plans to use AI and an earpiece to secretly advise a defendant during a speeding ticket hearing, noting that "state bar prosecutors" threatened jail time following the DoNotPay founder's prolific tweeting about the planned courtroom rules violation.  

Too many yacht pics.  A Boston federal judge determined that prosecutors could show one photo of a yacht the defendant hoped to purchase in an $82.5 million insider trading case, but that the prosecution's initial request to show six photos of the yacht was going too far.  

Open for business.  Delaware Vice Chancellor Travis Laster ruled that a shareholder suit can proceed against McDonald's former global chief people officer David Fairhurst for alleged damages resulting from the culture of sexual harassment the shareholders claim Fairhurst allowed to flourish.  The ruling clarifies that corporate officers, in addition to directors, owe a legal duty of oversight in a first-of-its-kind decision. 

Fake letterhead.  The SEC sued an investment advisor and Guss Capital, his firm, claiming over $750,000 in funds were misappropriated in a fraud scheme whereby the investment advisor forged KPMG audit reports and K&L Gates letters.  

O.M.G. Dolls.  A California federal judge declared a mistrial in the IP suit by rapper T.I. and his wife, Tameka “Tiny” Harris, against toymaker MGA Entertainment over dolls the couple alleges use the likeness of his daughter and members of her former rap group, OMG Girls, in MGA Entertainment's O.M.G. Dolls product.  The mistrial was declared after jurors heard testimony about cultural appropriation from the Black community, a topic the judge had previously ruled inadmissible.  

THE DEAL

Wheelin' and dealin' today's corporate news

Elon raising?  Elon Musk's team was reportedly in talks with investors about potentially selling up to $3 billion in new Twitter shares to repay a portion of the $13 billion in debt raised in Musk's acquisition of Twitter, but Musk denied such reports in a recent tweet.  

Bieber sale.  Justin Bieber agreed to sell his music publishing and recording catalog shares to Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs Capital, an IP investment venture, for $200 million.  Bieber's sale is notable given his young age, as music artists often wait to sell their music catalogues until later in their careers, but there are rumors as to why this sale now may have been a good decision for Bieber.  

Buyout time.  Apollo Global Management and former SoftBank executive Marcelo Claure are reportedly in talks with LatAm telecom firm Millicom International Cellular about acquiring the company for about $10 billion, including debt.  Given turbulence in the markets, Apollo and Claure are reportedly seeking to structure their bid in such a way that would allow them to avoid repaying or refinancing about $6.9 billion of Millicom's existing debt.  

Storage wars.  German warehouse company Jungheinrich AG agreed to acquire US storage company Storage Solutions for $375 million.  Freshfields is representing Jungheinrich and Goodwin is representing Storage Solutions.

BUSINESS OF THE FIRM

Lateral Moves: 

Industry News:

  • AI goes to law school. Law professors at the University of Minnesota used OpenAI's ChatGPT AI chatbot to generate answers to exams in four courses, grading them blindly alongside real students' tests. ChatGPT scored a C+ average, passing but below the students' B+ average.

BOILERPLATE

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