Fine arts auction house Sotheby’s has recently been named in the class-action lawsuit filed by Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) investors against BAYC creators Yuga Labs. The investors allege that the auction house helped Yuga Labs “deceptively promote” the nonfungible token (NFT) collection.
On Dec. 10, 2022, BAYC investors filed a class-action lawsuit against over 40 defendants, including Yuga Labs and celebrities like Post Malone, Justin Beiber and Paris Hilton. The lawsuit alleged that Yuga Labs and the celebrities were able to “artificially increase” the prices of the NFTs through celebrity promotions.
In a new development, Sotheby’s has been named in an amendment to the lawsuit. On Sept. 10, 2021, Sotheby’s auctioned 101 BAYC NFTs, which generated over $24 million in sales. According to the plaintiffs, the broker’s 2021 NFT auction allegedly helped make Yuga Labs look legitimate and misled investors.
#AuctionUpdate 101 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs just sold for $24.4 million and 101 Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs achieved $1.8 million in our Ape in! auction - the most significant #BAYC sale to date. Congrats to all the apes out there pic.twitter.com/e7UghlgtKy— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) September 9, 2021
However, the auction house reportedly said in a statement to mainstream media outlet CNN that the allegations are “baseless.” Sotheby’s also added that it is prepared to “vigorously defend” itself.
In the same report, Yuga Labs also echoed Sotheby’s sentiments. According to the BAYC creators, the new allegations are “without merit or factual basis.“ The company also described the complaint as “opportunistic.“
Meanwhile, another lawsuit involving Yuga Labs was settled earlier in 2023. On Feb. 7, the NFT company settled a lawsuit against a developer involved in the selling of a copycat NFT collection called RR/BAYC. Yuga Labs and the developer Thomas Lehman agreed on a permanent injunction prohibiting the latter from using any similar BAYC imagery or operating social media pages that insinuate any association with Yuga Labs.
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