Riot Games slams ‘falsehoods’ in latest lawsuit filing by former employee O’Donnell

By 9 months ago

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include additional information on past filings in the lawsuit between Sharon O’Donnell and Riot Games and to clarify the nature of the claims O’Donnell made in her most recent filing.

A judge has granted an ex-parte status conference in the ongoing legal battle between former Riot Games employee Sharon O’Donnell and the League of Legends and Valorant developer due to complications in the lawsuit, including allegations of witness tampering by O’Donnell and a filing Wednesday by the plaintiff.

Wednesday’s filing, which was in direct response to Riot Games’ own rebuttal against the plaintiff, said “none of those claims [in Tuesday’s filing] were true” and also levied second-hand allegations of sexual harassment against Riot’s CEO, Nicolo Laurent. Riot responded Wednesday, criticizing O’Donnell for spreading “falsehoods” in her latest filing and using hearsay to support her “salacious claims” after Riot brought forward two witnesses who alleged O’Donnell has harassed them in regard to the lawsuit, which became public in January.

This ex-parte status conference by Riot Games, which details the allegations made by the company against O’Donnell, was approved by a judge on Wednesday. The conference is set to take place on March 22, according to documents acquired by Daily Esports. 

In a request for a status conference Tuesday, Riot had accused O’Donnell of “witness tampering, harassment, and threatening behavior” toward women who had defended Laurent. In that filing, two people who had worked with Laurent came forward and said they’d received multiple, and at times verbally abusive, messages from O’Donnell as she allegedly attempted to get them to join her in suing Laurent. Both people, who were not identified by name, said they had interacted with O’Donnell previously; one indicated they felt the claims against Laurent by O’Donnell were “made up” based on their knowledge of the relationship between the two and their recent interactions with O’Donnell, and another claimed they had lost their job because of the number of calls they received from O’Donnell and people O’Donnell had passed on their phone number to.

O’Donnell’s legal counsel, Michael F. Baltaxe, denied the allegations before making today’s fillings.

The allegations made in the Wednesday filing by O’Donnell were second-hand accounts that O’Donnell claims were told to her by another party. That individual, O’Donnell alleges, said they had been harassed by Laurent in two separate instances.

“Plaintiff’s legal strategy, as seen in her most recent filing, appears to be designed to spread additional falsehoods to embarrass our CEO and the Company,” Riot Games said in a statement. “Now, after her motivation and credibility have been called into question, the plaintiff has responded with new allegations attacking our CEO that directly contradict the detailed and signed declarations provided by the individuals to which she refers.”

Riot also reiterated the claim made in Tuesday’s declaration that the plaintiff has harassed and threatened potential witnesses.

O’Donnell denied she was made aware of the witnesses’ testimonies. However, the plaintiff said she is aware of their respective connection to Laurent, though they are not allegedly employees of the company. 

One of the witnesses, whom O’Donnell said she worked with, allegedly told O’Donnell she would be fired from her position due to hospitalization from exhaustion. Although she is not mentioned, O’Donnell noted she could be used as a source for a story by U.S.-based magazine Wired. 

The second witness, who is also not named in the filing, has supposedly been out of contact with O’Donnell since July 2020.