Judge antique gavel

Tether, Bitfinex demand that Roche Freedman be expelled from class action suit

Tether and Bitfinex have requested for controversial firm Roche Freedman be kicked off in the case against them, citing ‘grave concerns’ over the misuse of confidential information handed over in discovery in the suit and the motivations behind its filing.

Kyle Roche, the co-founding partner of Roche Freedman, has already requested to remove himself from the case after the leak of damning videos which showed Roche bragging about filing lawsuits to attack competitors of Ava Labs, a digital asset company in which Roche Freedman and its partners have a significant financial stake. He also boasted that the many lawsuits his firm has launched against digital asset companies meant he has inside information on ‘half the companies’ in the industry.

Roche’s attempted recusal was evidently not enough for Tether and Bitfinex, who are facing a class action market manipulation suit—arranged by Roche Freedman—primarily over the issuance of unbacked Tether. They are now asking the District Court for the Southern District of New York to remove Roche Freedman as the firm of record on the case.

“Mr. Roche’s statements raise grave concerns for the [the defendants] regarding the motivations behind filing this lawsuit, the purpose for which certain discovery has been sought, and whether the highly sensitive, confidential information the [the defendants] have provided is being misused. That Mr. Roche, who initially claimed that his comments were taken out of context, has now announced that he “is no longer involved” in his firm’s class action practice further heightens those concerns,” a letter to Honorable Katherine Polk Failla of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York reads.

Referencing specific parts of the leaked videos, the lawyers representing Tether and Bitfinex point the court to Roche’s admitted improper filing of lawsuits to support Ava Labs, in which Roche himself has a potential stake worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The concerns over the misuse of confidential information obtained in the lawsuits ‘resonate particularly strongly’ in the Tether/Bitfinex case because, according to the request, Roche Freedman has demanded a vast number of documents from the defendants with no apparent link to the claims in the class action.

Given what Roche has admitted on camera, the request was inevitable. In fact, it’s likely to be only the first in a series of firms demanding that Roche Freedman be booted from the opposition. Considering the highly competitive nature of the digital asset industry, it’s hard to imagine any company feeling safe with Roche Freedman across from them—and not because of their legal chops. If Roche is willing to brag about using class action lawsuits to steal the confidential information of his client’s competitors, what might he be keeping secret?

What’s more, Roche Freedman might have done enough to draw the wrath of their own clients as well as their opponents. Not only has the firm apparently used the guise of class action lawsuits to go after their client’s competitors, but they’ve also dragged thousands of potential class members along with them—class members who Roche referred to as ‘idiots’—who may have had legitimate claims against shady digital asset companies tainted by the impropriety Roche appears to brag about on camera.

CoinGeek will report on the status of the defendant’s request, as well as any similar filings which might be headed Roche Freedman‘s way.

Watch: CoinGeek’s Kurt Wuckert Jr. interviews Christen Ager-Hanssen

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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