Judge mulls removing Shaq and Naomi Osaka from FTX lawsuits

A federal judge in Florida, United States, is considering dismissing former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal and tennis athlete Naomi Osaka from the FTX lawsuit, pointing out that it’s unclear whether the two had been served. 

In a paperless order, U.S. District Judge Kevin Moore instructed the plaintiffs to provide cause on why O’Neal and Osaka shouldn’t be dismissed from the suit. According to Moore, whether the two sports stars have been served is unclear. The judge gave the FTX customers until December to show cause.

The order was one of the several the judge issued on March 9. In another order, Moore reprimanded other celebrity defendants for requesting to push back a scheduled conference without following the proper steps.

Celebrity defendants, including Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen, Kevin O’Leary, David Ortiz and Trevor Lawrence, asked for a time extension. However, the judge pointed out that the request should have come from the plaintiff’s side. Moore said:

“The court ordered plaintiff, not the defendants, to move for an extension of time to hold the scheduling conference.“

Because of this, the conference will proceed as scheduled, or the plaintiff may move for an extension of time to hold the conference, according to Moore.

Related: Investors might have avoided FTX if the SEC had addressed Bitcoin ETFs, says BitGo CEO

Meanwhile, as cases against FTX pile up, some plaintiffs requested the consolidation of lawsuits against the bankrupt exchange. However, on March 8, a judge denied the consolidation request, highlighting that the defendants have not yet been allowed to respond. U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Corley recently denied the request to consolidate five proposed class-action suits against FTX.

On the same day, lawyers representing former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried noted that it might be necessary to push back the criminal trial scheduled to start in October 2023. While the lawyers did not formally request a date change, they pointed out that it may be needed because they are still waiting for evidence to be turned over, and Bankman-Fried accumulated more charges in February.

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