A lawsuit filed by Charles Oakley against New York Knicks owner James Dolan and Madison Square Garden has been dismissed by a federal judge.
Oakley filed the lawsuit in 2017, after a February incident that year in which he had a run-in with security personnel at the Garden. He had alleged assault, battery and false imprisonment, along with defamation after Dolan and the Knicks implied he had a problem with alcohol.
He had been seeking compensation to be determined by a jury for emotional distress and/or mental anguish, punitive damages, damages to Oakley's reputation, and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.
"This case has had the feel of a public relations campaign," U.S. Circuit Judge Richard J. Sullivan wrote in his decision to dismiss, "with the parties seemingly more interested in the court of public opinion than the merits of their legal arguments."
Oakley's attorney, Douglas Wigdor, said they were disappointed by the ruling but that Oakley "is not one to give up."
"It's just the beginning of the fourth quarter, and we are confident that we can turn this around with an appeal that we plan to file in the coming days," Wigdor said in a statement.
Madison Square Garden released a statement thanking the court for its decision.
"This was an incident that no one was happy about," the statement said. "Maybe now there can be peace between us."
Oakley was sitting near Dolan at a game on Feb. 8, 2017. He was approached by security soon after arriving and began to scuffle with them before he was removed from his seat and arrested.
When posting a statement about the arrest during the game, the Knicks called Oakley a great Knick but said he had acted in an "abusive manner" and that they hoped "he gets some help soon." Dolan then said during an ESPN radio interview that Oakley may have a problem with alcohol.
But Sullivan said Oakley failed to prove any of the statements were defamatory.
"Oakley has failed to allege a plausible legal claim that can meet federal pleading standards," Sullivan concluded.
Oakley had been charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault, one misdemeanor count of aggravated harassment and one misdemeanor count of trespassing. He was also cited for two additional counts of harassment that were considered noncriminal violations. The criminal case was dismissed and sealed in 2018.
Oakley, 56, spent 10 years as the Knicks' starting power forward, from the 1988-89 season to 1997-98.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.