OnlyFans, Meta Seek Dismissal of Conspiracy Lawsuit

OnlyFans, Meta Seek Dismissal of Conspiracy Lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO — OnlyFans and Meta this week filed motions seeking dismissal of a civil lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to blacklist OnlyFans’ competitors and their brand ambassadors.

The companies allege that the discovery process revealed no evidence of a conspiracy.

As XBIZ reported, Adult Performance Artists Guild (APAG) board officers Alana Evans, Kelly Pierce and Ruby originally filed the civil lawsuit in February 2022, against OnlyFans, its owner Leonid Radvinsky and Instagram and Facebook’s parent company, Meta. The suit replicates claims from an earlier lawsuit filed on behalf of FanCentro in November 2021, alleging a conspiracy to engage in “tortious interference with contract and intentional interference with prospective business.”

Attorney David Azar of Beverly Hills firm Milberg Coleman Bryson Grossman, who is representing the group as the first three of a class involving all adult performers and content creators, is also one of the lawyers representing FanCentro in its related action against OnlyFans.

On Wednesday, OnlyFans’ parent company, Fenix International Ltd., asked District Judge William Alsup to sanction the performers for spreading “frivolous allegations.”

Fenix’s motion for sanctions alleges that the plaintiffs’ counsel insisted during a hearing that they could present as evidence alleged transactions involving the bank HSBC, and later referred to illicit payments or transfers, according to legal news site Law360.

Fenix asserts that during discovery, HSBC confirmed that it did not have records of the alleged wire transfers.

Fenix alleges that the plaintiffs “have known for some time that HSBC does not have any records regarding the alleged wire transfers and that the sender of the ‘Follow the money’ email cannot be verified and subpoenaed by the court. Nevertheless, plaintiffs required the Fenix defendants to engage in an expedited jurisdictional discovery process at great cost and expense to the Fenix defendants.”

Meta Requests Expedited Summary Judgment

Fenix’s motion alleges that there is “zero evidence” of wire transfers supporting the lawsuit’s “unreasonable conspiracy theory,” and that its employees did not have any knowledge of, or involvement, in the alleged blacklisting scheme.

“At this point, plaintiffs’ pursuit of these factually baseless claims is nothing more than a vexatious and unreasonable conspiracy theory,” Fenix’s lawyers told the court.

“Plaintiffs leveled baseless bribery allegations in all versions of their complaint,” the motion adds. “As a result, plaintiffs’ pleadings contain false material allegations of bribery that have ‘necessarily tainted the entire litigation as a whole from beginning to end.’”

Judge Alsup ruled in December 2022 that the proposed class action suit concerning the alleged conspiracy could move forward, enabling the discovery phase to begin.

On Thursday, Meta — the other company accused by the performers of being party to the conspiracy —  motioned to dismiss, requesting an expedited summary judgment briefing schedule.

According to Meta, “With the benefit of that discovery, it is now painfully obvious that plaintiffs’ allegations of bribery and the alleged scheme that bribery allegedly facilitated, are categorically false and without any evidentiary support whatsoever.”

The case is [Evans] et al. v. Instagram LLC et al., case number 3:22-cv-01101, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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