Tinder co-founder and former CEO Sean Rad has asked the New York Supreme Court to dismiss a $250 million lawsuit against him by Match Group and IAC, the owners of Tinder. Match claims that Rad copied internal files and proprietary information before he left the company, violating his employment contract. In his motion to dismiss, however, Rad says the contract gave him the right to back up internal emails and hold on to those correspondences even after his tenure at Tinder ended.
Match’s claims are meant to counter a multibillion-dollar lawsuit from Rad. In August 2018, Rad and other former Tinder employees sued Match Group and IAC over claims that the company purposefully undervalued Tinder to avoid having to pay the team billions more in equity. Now Match is countersuing — thanks to the initial lawsuit, which revealed that Rad had hung onto these disputed internal documents.
In its countersuit, Match claims that Rad sent corporate documents to his personal email and held on to them after he left the company so he could use them for “personal gain.” Match says that Rad “was bound by contracts forbidding him from copying or disclosing his employers’ confidential information.” The lawsuit also alleges that Rad copied “highly sensitive, non-public information” about Tinder business strategies and plans.
Today, Rad said this isn’t the case and that his contract allowed him to back up emails. The motion says that Rad signed an agreement that allows him to not only hold on to his work emails, but also frees him to use them in legal action against Tinder. The motion says that Rad specifically negotiated this contract because he “wanted protection if Match attempted to rob him of his Tinder equity.”
Match also said in its lawsuit that it would have terminated Rad’s employment if it had known about the email backups. Rad’s motion for dismissal argues that he couldn’t have been terminated, even if Match had known about the backups, because his contract allowed him between 10 and 30 days to remedy any potential termination cause.
“In this frivolous lawsuit, Match now tries to cheat Rad of even more money, seeking to claw back hundreds of millions in equity compensation that Rad earned for creating and building Tinder—and all because Rad did what his contract authorized him to do,” the motion says.
In a statement to The Verge, Rad’s lawyer, Orin Snyder, called Match’s lawsuit a “waste of the court’s time” and counted the countersuit as part of a “familiar playbook of bullying and retaliation” from IAC and Match.
“The contract specifically allowed Sean Rad to keep these documents, and IAC and Match are just mad that Sean retained the evidence that will expose their misconduct,” he said. “We look forward to presenting that evidence to a jury.”
Match Group didn’t respond to an immediate request for comment.