It's not every day that a law firm is forced to play a game of cat and mouse with a legendary NBA star. However, that's exactly the situation one Florida law firm finds itself in, as it tries to serve Shaquille O'Neal with papers in a lawsuit involving FTX, the popular cryptocurrency exchange platform. The firm has announced its intentions to seek alternative methods to serve the basketball icon, as the chase has gone on for far too long.
Last November, a class-action lawsuit was filed in a Florida federal district court, naming Shaquille O'Neal, Tom Brady, and Larry David, among other celebrities, as defendants. The suit alleges that these celebrities "actively participated" in the "offer and sale of unregistered securities" by promoting FTX. In essence, the plaintiffs are accusing the celebrities of endorsing and promoting an unregulated financial product without proper disclosures, potentially causing financial harm to investors.
Since filing the lawsuit, the law firm representing the plaintiffs has been attempting to serve Shaquille O'Neal with the legal papers, but to no avail. The NBA superstar has seemingly evaded the process servers at every turn, resulting in a prolonged and frustrating pursuit.
The law firm has indicated that they have tried multiple times to serve O'Neal at his various residences and through his representatives, but he has managed to avoid being served so far. This has led the firm to announce its intention to explore alternative methods of service in order to finally deliver the legal documents and move forward with the case.
Despite being one of the most recognizable figures in the sports world, Shaquille O'Neal has managed to avoid being served with the lawsuit's complaint. The law firm's representative said, "Basically, the largest man is hiding from our lawsuit." The process servers have tried to locate and serve O'Neal at various locations, including his NBA studio, a home, and places where he's participated in promotions. Yet, O'Neal remains elusive.
Frustrated by their inability to serve O'Neal personally, the law firm is now turning to the court to request substituted service. This method of delivering court papers is typically reserved for circumstances where defendants can't be reached personally or practically. If granted, the firm would be allowed to send the complaint to O'Neal's personal address, bypassing the need for a face-to-face encounter.
Interestingly, the law firm could also explore the possibility of serving court papers via a non-fungible token (NFT), as seen in other Florida court proceedings. This innovative approach to legal service could represent a unique solution in the digital age, though it remains unclear if the court would approve such a method in this case.
Recently, O'Neal shared on social media that he was recovering from hip replacement surgery, offering the process server a potential opportunity to serve him at his Orlando residence. However, according to the law firm's representative, Moskowitz, when the process server arrived at O'Neal's home, security personnel informed them that O'Neal had "already fled to the Bahamas."
The ongoing saga of serving Shaquille O'Neal in the FTX lawsuit is a testament to the challenges that can arise when attempting to serve high-profile individuals with legal documents. As the law firm seeks substituted service or explores alternative methods, it remains to be seen if they will finally succeed in delivering the complaint to the elusive NBA star.