A New York judge on Monday called leaked comments by a Roche Freedman co-founding partner bragging about his company’s relationship with a crypto startup “solely stupid.”
Katherine Polk Failla, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York, also expressed concerns about the company’s motives for filing a class action lawsuit accusing crypto exchange Bitfinex and affiliate Tether of manipulation. of the market.
She said she would decide within a week whether the firm should be kicked out of representing plaintiffs in the case.
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Monday’s hearing came more than a month after a website called Crypto Leaks posted recordings of the company’s co-founder Kyle Roche discussing a close relationship with blockchain developer Ava Labs. Roche has denied allegations that its company used litigation to target Ava Labs’ competitors.
The tapes also showed Roche making disparaging remarks about band members in general and jurors.
After the leak, the defendants and Roche Freedman’s co-lead attorney — law firms Selendy Gay Elsberg and Schneider Wallace — filed motions for the firm to be removed from the case. Another plaintiff firm also urged Failla to reconsider his 2020 appointment as lead counsel in the case.
During the hearing, Roche Freedman partner Devin Freedman acknowledged Roche’s comments were “dumb”, but he argued there was no evidence to support a charge. that the company sued to help Ava Labs.
He claimed the leaks were orchestrated by a defendant, whom he did not name, in a separate action and that the firm should remain counsel because it has the most expertise on the underlying issues.
Freedman said he and Roche began working on the lawsuit before Ava Labs even existed. To protect against the appearance of impropriety, Roche was kicked out of the company’s class action practice and “isolated” from all existing class action cases, Freedman said.
Lawyers for Bitfinex and Tether argued the steps weren’t enough, saying the videos raised serious concerns about whether the company abused the discovery process.
Selendy Gay Elsberg and Schneider Wallace also called for the company to be removed from the case, saying it would remove a “distraction” created by the recordings.
The companies, however, said they would have no problem working with Roche Freedman if the boutique remained on the case.
Expats from prominent litigation firm Boies Schiller established Roche Freedman in 2019 and now has 25 attorneys in New York, Miami and Boston.
The firm, among the most active in crypto class action lawsuits, has filed more than a dozen lawsuits against crypto exchanges and token issuers on behalf of investors and has been granted lead counsel status in many. of them.
The lawsuit against Bitfinex and Tether alleges that they were part of a scheme to manipulate the cryptocurrency market and defraud investors. Some of the claims survived a motion to dismiss in 2021.
The named plaintiffs in the Bitfinex/Tether lawsuit submitted statements in September saying they wanted to continue to be represented by Roche Freedman.
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Partner’s Crypto Leaks Comments Are “Only Stupid”, Says Judge
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