Lawyers say Tinder’s parents, IAC and Match at the time, are concealing documents relevant to an ongoing
As part of that case, lawyers for Rad and other plaintiffs are seeking to show that IAC and Match whitewashed an investigation of alleged misconduct against former Match Chairman and CEO
Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued IAC and Match should turn over all “notes, summaries and memoranda” related to the investigation of Blatt’s
Attorneys for IAC and Match filed their own motion in response on Wednesday, reiterating their request to exclude evidence relating to the Tinder holiday party and the internal investigation into Blatt’s misconduct. “The ‘scheme’ theory advanced by plaintiffs is purely conjectural and wholly void of proof,” according to the filing states, adding that documents should remain sealed as it would “put irrelevant but highly prejudicial evidence before a jury.”
In a statement to Bloomberg News, IAC said: “The company has nothing to hide. We did prepare for exactly what came to pass: Sean Rad making scurrilous accusations, completely unsupported by even the alleged victim, in an attempt to harm the company and improperly benefit himself.”
According to a timeline described in the motions, Match’s board found out about Pambakian’s allegations in April 2017 and began an internal investigation. The valuation process for Tinder’s IPO began in May, and according to the filings and the previously disclosed lawsuit, Blatt intentionally withheld information from bankers to obtain a low valuation for the company.
Two months later, when a journalist got wind of the harassment allegations and began asking questions for a potential news story, the board suggested Blatt promptly resign his position, according to an email from Blatt to his public relations adviser. “We say this is long-planned. And we go about our business,” Blatt writes.
The suit claims that the board had debated disclosing his misconduct -- with Blatt even writing what appeared to be a draft resignation letter in an email acknowledging he “did a stupid thing” and “engaged in some snuggling and nuzzling.” Ultimately the board opted to make Blatt’s departure look like part of a planned transition the suit says, citing an email where IAC head of communications Valerie Combs writes to Levin “we need to get specific on the date of when the Board adopted a CEO transition plan, and it needs to pre-date the incident for the story to be credible should all of this come to light.” IAC and Match deny that Blatt was asked to resign
In a statement to Bloomberg, Blatt said he was “extremely confident” that he will be vindicated of the allegations against him. “As I made clear in my defamation lawsuit, Rad and Pambakian are attempting to extort an unjustified payout in their lawsuit against Match by making false allegations against me,” Blatt said. “Their claims have been repeatedly contradicted during discovery, both by sworn testimony from multiple third-party witnesses and contemporaneous documentary evidence.”
A second motion filed by the plaintiffs on Wednesday revealed new claims that Diller had been advised by counsel that the company had an obligation to disclose Blatt’s misconduct upon his resignation, citing testimony from Diller’s October deposition which has yet to be unsealed.
The motion also claims that other unreleased emails show that Diller notified
The flurry of court filings comes as both parties prepare to go to trial in less than six months after nearly three years of suits and countersuits that has cost Match Group millions of dollars in legal fees. Earlier this month, Match and IAC moved to seal a trove documents related to the sexual misconduct investigation.
“Defendants know that if the jury sees the evidence that their investigation of Blatt was a sham and a whitewash— that the investigation was so egregiously deficient compared to how companies normally handle these situations—the jury will conclude that Defendants’ motive was to protect Blatt, to keep him in place, and to ensure that he remained at the controls to execute Defendants’ corrupt scheme by engineering a lowball valuation,” according to the suit.
Pambakian, who previously served as vice president of marketing and communications at Tinder, was originally part of Rad’s suit but withdrew after finding she had signed an arbitration agreement. She filed a
Match acknowledged in a conference call last year that it expects its legal expenses to remain elevated. The Tinder litigation is “the most significant” lawsuit it faces and could result in legal headwinds and expenditures into 2021, according to Susquehanna litigation analyst
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