MSG Entertainment faces probe over move to block lawyers from its arenas

The New York lawyer-standard is probing allegations that the house owners of Manhattan’s Madison Square Back garden arena made use of facial recognition technology to bar attorneys associated in litigation in opposition to the leisure firm from attending occasions.

In a letter despatched on Tuesday to MSG Amusement, which also owns Radio Town Music Corridor, the business of Letitia James explained it had reviewed studies suggesting that thousands of legal professionals throughout 90 corporations experienced been banned from the company’s internet sites, violating civil legal rights regulation.

“MSG Amusement can not fight their lawful battles in their own arenas,” said James, whose office environment also lifted considerations that the technologies could discriminate versus minorities. “Anyone with a ticket to an event need to not be anxious that they may well be wrongfully denied entry based on their visual appeal, and we’re urging MSG Leisure to reverse this plan.”

MSG Entertainment did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Last calendar year, New York lawyer Larry Hutcher sued MSG in point out court, alleging that the company had revoked his basketball time ticket and banned him from quite a few venues following he started representing ticket resellers in a different case versus the organization.

A number of other lawyers included in litigation versus MSG told a Delaware court docket in November that they too had acquired letters barring them from MSG venues — a policy the judge in that case referred to as “the stupidest point I have ever read”.

Gregory Varallo, a lawyer in that scenario, instructed the court docket that MSG “used facial recognition program to appear in and scrape all the internet webpages of all the firms associated and then employed that facial recognition software at the Back garden and other venues”.

He went on to mock “the notion that I have been located out — that my evil strategy to go to the Backyard garden and talk to the pretzel seller about litigation method has been uncovered”, according to a transcript of the proceedings.

The shift by the New York attorney-general came days after condition senators launched a monthly bill intended to close a lawful loophole and prohibit “wrongful refusal of entry” at sporting gatherings.

“MSG’s use of facial recognition technology . . . is an unacceptable invasion of the privateness of all their patrons, and a blatant attempt to intimidate and bully people who could possibly want to go after their working day in court docket towards the enterprise,” point out senator Liz Krueger claimed on Monday.

“It is certainly time for the town and the point out to rethink any and all permits, licenses and advantages offered to MSG in the face of their ongoing malfeasance.”

Senators also claimed MSG rescinded a regional assembly member’s invitation to an MSG party after he attended a push meeting above their use of facial recognition.