Beloved Basketball Hall of Famer and TV personality, Shaquille O’Neal, is once again accused of repeatedly avoiding being served in a class-action lawsuit involving high-profile FTX endorsers.
In a new motion obtained by Dailymail.com, plaintiffs including FTX retail investor Edwin Garrison have filed a new motion in the US District Court Southern District of Florida Miami to serve O’Neal via alternate means.
Those include serving him through his official social media accounts after, according to the lawyers for the plaintiffs, ‘is evading service by any means necessary.’
O’Neal is one of several high-profile celebrities, including Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen and Steph Curry, listed as defendants in a class-action lawsuit.
The suit was filed last November by Garrison, who claims he opened an account with the now-bankrupt crypto exchange after ‘being exposed to’ celebrity endorsements and their alleged ‘misrepresentations and omissions.’
The NBA legend was a ‘paid spokesperson’ for the now bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange
Retired QB Tom Brady and ex-wife Gisele Bundchen both promoted FTX during their marriage
According to Garrison’s lawyers, all of the defendants except O’Neal have been served.
‘He has not allowed himself to be served with process, has not had any counsel confirm that they will represent him in this action, or otherwise appeared in this action,’ the motion obtained by Dailymail.com read.
‘Our process server has also been trying to track Mr. O’Neal based upon various posts on his social media.’
‘Mr. O’Neal’s conduct over the last five months in evading service in this action is unprecedented, and frankly shocking, based upon on the extent of his public appearances, persona, and presence,’ Adam Moskowitz, co-lead counsel on the FTX class-actions told Dailymail.com.
‘Accordingly, given the circumstances, substitute service of process through social media pursuant to Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 106(b)(2) is necessary to complete service of process on Defendant O’Neal. This case needs to proceed.’
Moskowitz also accused O’Neal of being deceitful in a commercial, so he could earn ‘millions of dollars’.
O’Neal hosted a Super Bowl Party at Shaq’s Fun House in partnership with FTX in February 2022, ahead of Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.
FTX was a high-profile cryptocurrency exchange that made major inroads with investors, thanks to celebrity endorsements. On November 11, it filed for bankruptcy.
Shaquille O’Neal hosted a Super Bowl Party, ‘Shaq’s Fun House’ in 2022, presented by FTX
The following month, O’Neal told CNBC he was merely a ‘paid spokesperson.’
‘A lot of people think I’m involved, but I was just a paid spokesperson for a commercial,’ O’Neal said.
In September 2021, speaking on cryptocurrency to CNBC Make It, O’Neal remarked: ‘I don’t understand it, so I will probably stay away from it until I get a full understanding of what it is…From my experience, it is too good to be true.’
In a presentation to creditors publicly released on Thursday, the auditors leading FTX through bankruptcy said they had identified just $2.8 billion in assets towards the $11.6bn that customers are owed from their accounts.
Other defendants listed in the suit are the Golden State Warriors, tennis player Naomi Osaka, Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem, former MLB star David Ortiz, LA Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, comedian Larry David, entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary and FTX founder, Sam Bankman-Fried.
The lawsuit argues the exchange’s interest-bearing accounts were technically a security, requiring its endorsers to publicize details of their compensations from FTX.
‘They have never disclosed the nature, scope, and amount of compensation they personally received in exchange for the promotion,’ the complaint alleges.
A response from defendants is expected by April 14.
Both Brady and Stephen Curry signed endorsement deals with Bankman-Fried’s FTX
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried on stage with Gisele Bundchen at a conference during 2022
Tennis star Naomi Osaka also signed a deal with FTX before the crypto exchange went bust