US Judge Removes Legal Firm Roche Freedman From Class Action Against Tether, Bitfinex: Report

The firm was removed even after its controversial founder Kyle Roche filed to withdraw from the case.

AccessTimeIconOct 14, 2022 at 7:05 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 14, 2022 at 4:40 p.m. UTC

Law firm Roche Freedman was removed from representing the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against crypto exchange Bitfinex and stablecoin issuer Tether, which accused them of market manipulation, according to a Bloomberg report on Thursday.

A New York Judge took the action despite Kyle Roche, crypto lawyer and founding partner of Roche Freedman, filing earlier to step away from his law firm's class action practice.

In August, whistleblower site Crypto Leaks published a series of damning videos, accusing Roche of weaponizing class-action lawsuits to collect sensitive information on various crypto companies. Roche had denied the allegations.

Roche had withdrawn from lawsuits involving Tether, Bitfinex, the Tron Foundation, HDR Global Trading (which operates as BitMEX), Nexo Capital, BAM Trading (which operates as Binance.US), Dfinity, and Solana Labs. Roche also withdrew from a class-action lawsuit against several universities.

Tether and Bitfinex had filed a request to remove Roche's entire law firm from the case. Judge Katherine Polk Failla said the firm's continued participation in the case could derail litigation, the report said. "The metaphorical baggage they now carry is not in the best interests of the class," Failla said.

"We are pleased with the Court’s thorough and well-reasoned decision to remove Roche Freedman LLP as interim class counsel," said a Tether spokesperson. "Roche Freedman’s repeated attempts to trivialize and separate itself from Kyle Roche’s despicable statements describing unethical conduct were not the least bit persuasive."

Roche Freedman did not immediately respond to CoinDesk's request for comment.

The lawsuit, which was filed in 2019, against Bitfinex and Tether, its sister company, seeks total damages up to more than $1 trillion.

UPDATE (Oct. 14, 2022, 11:55 UTC): Adds quote from Tether spokesperson.


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