On Thursday, December 8th, Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP filed a class action complaint on behalf of plaintiffs Adam Titcher and Adonis Real with the United States Central District Court of California, Western Division. The complaint targets the company Yuga Labs Inc., most famously known for its Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection. However, other defendants include a long list of celebrities deemed responsible for unrealistically hyping up the value of Yuga Labs’ intangible goods.
A report by Deadline also pointed out that some of the defendants cited in the class action include Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton, Madonna, Jimmy Fallon, and Kevin Hart, among others.
Some of the specific charges include violations of unfair competition laws, aiding and abetting, and civil conspiracy, among others, but it is summarized fairly well in a quote from a 2017 article from the US Securities and Exchange Commission that states, “Celebrities and others are using social media networks to encourage the public to purchase stocks and other investments. These endorsements may be unlawful if they do not disclose the nature, source, and amount of any compensation paid, directly or indirectly, by the company in exchange for the endorsement.”
The suit was filed alongside a wealth of evidence outlining how Yuga Labs used a service called MoonPay as an intermediary to compensate the people promoting the NFT collection.
MoonPay is advertised as an NFT exchange for celebrities and other investors but was, according to the complaint, used as an avenue to compensate celebrity endorsements of Yuga Labs NFTs, without disclosing this information to investors. The complaint further details that MoonPay was started by Guy Oseary, a connected Hollywood talent agent who conspired with Yuga Labs to provide this intermediary.
The plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial on these charges, requesting damages and restitution to be awarded to anyone who suffered financial losses by purchasing Yuga’s NFTs or Yuga’s cryptocurrency, ApeCoin, starting from April 23rd, 2021.