NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has been accused of evading service from the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against celebrities that marketed the defunct digital currency exchange FTX.
Disgruntled investors led by Edwin Garrison headed to court on the grounds that the endorsements from celebrities convinced them to use FTX, leading to the loss of funds. Other celebrities mentioned in the lawsuit include Steph Curry, Larry David, Tom Brady, and tennis superstar Naomi Osaka.
According to Garrison’s lawyers, O’Neal is the only individual out of the group of celebrities that has been avoiding service from the plaintiffs. Attorneys disclosed to the public that they had exhausted all available options in their attempts to serve court processes on the basketball legend.
“It is really astonishing the measures he has gone to avoid service of our complaint,” Adam Moskowitz, one of the lawyers in the matter, said. “The irony is that the admitted facts against him are probably the worst against any of the FTX brand ambassadors.”
O’neal has been accused of being the biggest promoter of the embattled exchange, famously declaring in multiple advertisements that he was “all in” with FTX. Shortly after FTX’s ill-fated collapse, O’Neal disclosed that he was only a spokesperson with the company, and his involvement with the exchange did not exceed the role.
The lawsuit alleges that the celebrities failed to mention the “nature, scope, and amount of compensation they personally received in exchange for the promotion” of FTX, which they claim is a breach of the fiduciary duty of trust.
Since the collapse, FTX has been embroiled in an avalanche of lawsuits from disgruntled investors worldwide, with its founder Sam Bankman-Fried facing both civil and criminal liability.
Judge considers removing O’Neal and Osaka from the suit
U.S. District Judge Kevin Moore ordered the plaintiffs in the matter to show cause why O’Neal and Osaka should not be removed from the suit. The plaintiffs have until December to satisfy the court that the duo should be made parties to the case.
The judge also poked holes in the defendants’ decision to apply for an extension of time for a scheduled case conference, saying that the request should have come from the plaintiffs.
“The court ordered plaintiffs, not the defendants, to move for an extension of time to hold the scheduling conference,” said Moore as he hinted that the plaintiffs still have the right to apply for an extension.
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