Thursday, April 19, 2007

Courtney Prince Smeared

The Gothamist asked: Who Even Knew The Rangers Had Cheerleaders?

Courtney Prince, the former New York Ranger dancer/skater/cheerleader, is being slimed by Madison Square Garden. MSG has filed a third motion for summary judgment (having lost the first two) and has filed "hundreds of pages of documents" (according to the New York Daily News) characterizing Prince as "a mentally ill pervert" (the Daily News take) and claiming that, according to MSG attorney Melissa Rodriguez, "she suffered from bipolar disorder, a classic symptom of which is hypersexuality." (a direct quote from MSG attorney Rodriguez according to the Daily News.)

Defendants in sexual harassment cases always attack the character of the accuser. Any hint of sexuality on the part of a victim of sexual harassment is suddenly a sin. Easy enough in this case: The Rangers cheerleaders are hired to flaunt their sexuality. Look at the tight outfits!

If the defendant can't find sex, they call her crazy. MSG has just combined both tactics here. She's crazy and hypersexual. And Prince, who was paid $150 per game by MSG, is being attacked with the opinion of a doctor who charges hundreds of dollars per hour for his time. Isn't it ironic?

I was curious about the attorney named as representing Madison Square Garden in the Daily News article, Melissa Rodriguez. I think it's Melissa C. Rodriguez of Morgan, Lewis. (I didn't find any definite corroboration of this, but Morgan, Lewis represents Madison Square Garden in the Isaiah Thomas/Anucha Browne Sanders sexual harassment lawsuit (pdf link, p. 12), and Morgan, Lewis is one of the large national firms that represents employers.)

Michelle C. Rodriguez, Morgan Lewis

Kind of a come hither photo for a law firm bio, no? People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Rodriguez is a fifth year lawyer with an impressive pedigree (Yale, Columbia Law), but not a lot of experience to be the lead lawyer in a high-profile case. I wonder if she is the lead attorney on the case? Or is she just being used to put out the smear so the big name partner who is handling the case doesn't have to get his/her hands dirty? Is MSG using a woman (and a minority) as window dressing? I handled many sex discrimination cases where young female lawyers were included on the defense team for that very reason.

Anyway, this sounds like typical defense smear tactics, overreaching included. Did you see the movie The Insider? It was the story of the witness, Jeffrey Wigand, who brought down Big Tobacco by revealing how they had covered up scientific research for years. Brown & Williamson had compiled a 500-page dossier of Wigand's alleged misdeeds; it was mostly BS. I suspect MSG complaints about Prince are much the same.

Isn't it funny how MSG promoted Prince to be captain of the Ranger cheerleaders after she'd been there a year, but now she's a hypersexual crazy person? Funny how that happens.

NYDailyNews: Rangers cheerleader sex-crazed, say attorneys

deadspin: MSG Pulling No Punches In Dance Skater Lawsuit

Opinion [on Summary Judgment motions], Prince v. Madison Square Garden, et al., April 10, 2006 [pdf file] [or view here in HTML format]

NYMagazineDailyIntelligencer: Hungry Cheerleader Claims Harassment Over Tater Tots

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