Four Tinder plaintiffs have withdrawn from the IAC and Match Group lawsuit, after it was claimed they were forced to sign an arbitration agreement.
Rosette Pambakian, Joshua Metz, Jonathan Badeen and James Kim were part of the ten-person team that accused IAC and Match Group of undervaluing Tinder, in order to avoid paying out large share options to the dating app’s early employees.
They believed that IAC and Match Group were going to act on the arbitration agreement, which was seemingly signed when the initial deal about stock options was made in 2014.
An arbitration agreement is a deal to settle disputes privately between the two parties, rather than in court.
The revelation came after IAC and Match Group filed a motion proposing that the lawsuit be contested in a federal court rather than a state one. In this proposal was a mention that the companies were considering enforcing the arbitration agreement. The change of venue request has since been retracted.
Rosette Pambakian told The Verge: “Just months after cheating Tinder employees out of billions of dollars, IAC / Match tried changing its policies in an attempt to force all current employees out of a public courtroom before a jury and into secret arbitration. IAC / Match did this only after carrying out their scheme.
“Let me be very clear: IAC / Match will be held accountable and we will continue to support the lawsuit 100% as it unfolds in New York state court.”
It’s thought that IAC and Match Group hid the arbitration agreement deep in the contracts, so the employees didn’t know they were signing it. It’s also possible that the plaintiffs weren’t completely sure what the clause meant.
However, because the withdrawal from the action is described as “without prejudice”, it is possible that the four could rejoin the case.
As a part of the original lawsuit, Pambakian claimed that she was sexually harassed by former Tinder CEO Greg Blatt.
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