Tether requests Roche Freedman to be booted from class action
Bitfinex and Tether’s legal representatives also want the law firm to return or destroy all defendant-issued documents and confirm they haven’t been shared.
USDT-issuer Tether wants law firm Roche Freedman “terminated” as counsel from the Bitfinex and Tether class action lawsuit following a motion from Kyle Roche to be removed as counsel in the case.
In an Aug. 31 court order request by Elliot Greenfield of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, the law firm representing Tether and Bitfinex requested that Roche’s law firm be removed from the case entirely and to certify that they’ve returned or destroyed all defendant-issued documents and have not shared them with any third-party, including Ava Labs.
The request follows shortly after Roche submitted a Notice of Motion to Withdraw from the Tether class action lawsuit amid ongoing fallout from a recent CryptoLeaks expose, which alleged the U.S. lawyer had a secret pact to “harm” Ava Labs competitors in exchange for AVAX tokens and Ava Labs equity.
Greenfield said Roche’s statements published on the CryptoLeaks website raised a “serious concern” that Kyle Roche “may be abusing the discovery process” and “misusing information” he learns through litigation.
“He states that he is Ava Lab’s ‘crypto expert’ because he ‘sue[s] half the companies in the space’ and ‘know[s] where this market is going’ because he has ‘seen the insides of every single crypto company.’”
Greenfield said the concerns are highly relevant to the case, highlighting that Roche Freedman LLP “has served a number of document requests seeking information that has no apparent link to the claims and defenses in this lawsuit.”
The lawyer has also stressed the need for the documents to be repressed, “as they include not only confidential, competitively sensitive information about Defendants’ businesses but also information that, if disclosed, would threaten the privacy and security of Defendants and their customers.”
While Kyle Roche has filed motions to remove himself from the case and others, Greenfield said the withdrawal of Roche “does little if anything to address the serious issues regarding the potential misuse of discovery.”
“Even if he is no longer counsel of record, he would still have access to discovery materials, would retain the ability to direct the conduct of other lawyers at his firm, and would profit from any potential recovery in this lawsuit.”
Greenfield added that the “removal would not prejudice Plaintiffs,” as they would continue to be represented by “two other large and experienced firms” including Selendy Gay Elsberg PLLC and Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky LLP.
The class action lawsuit initiated in 2019 alleged that Tether and Bitfinex manipulated the crypto market by issuing unbacked Tether (USDT) “in an effort to signal to the market that there was enormous, organic demand for crypto commodities.”
Over the last few days, Roche has also withdrawn from the Binance, Solana, Tron, BitMEX, Nexo, and Dfinity lawsuits.