This week, the Second Circuit issued two orders reversing in part the district court’s decision dismissing claims brought by former Knicks player Charles Oakley, all stemming from a 2017 incident at Madison Square Garden where Oakley was forcibly removed from the stands during a Knicks game by the arena’s security (see our previous coverage here).
The Second Circuit concluded that the allegations of excessive force were best left for a jury to decide:
When a plaintiff alleges that he was “thrown to the ground” by actions that “greatly exceeded the amount of force that was necessary” and “clearly exceeded the bounds of reasonable behavior,” and that he “has suffered and continues to suffer harm,” the reasonable inference to be drawn is that he has been subjected to an unreasonable amount of force . . . . As the Second Department of the Appellate Division has noted, “Because of its intensely factual nature, the question of whether the use of force was reasonable under the circumstances is generally best left for a jury to decide.” Even in the arrest context, the reasonableness of the force used is often a jury question. These principles apply with even greater force at the motion to dismiss stage, where a court must assume the truth of the plaintiff’s allegations and avoid resolving factual disputes.
In an accompanying summary order, the Second Circuit also affirmed the dismissal of the claims for defamation, denial of public accommodation, and false imprisonment.