Former DraftKings Employee Denies Allegations of Data Theft Conspiracy with Fanatics CEO
In a legal battle between two major sports betting companies, Michael Hermalyn, the newly appointed VIP chief at Fanatics, has strongly denied allegations brought forth by DraftKings, calling them “wrong and disappointing” and “false and fabricated.”
The dispute turned into a legal showdown when DraftKings filed a lawsuit accusing Hermalyn, a former employee, of conspiring with Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin to steal customer data before his transition to a betting executive role at Fanatics. The legal battle intensified with a 16-page filing in a Massachusetts court, as reported by Front Office Sports.
In response, Hermalyn refuted DraftKings’ assertions in a declaration submitted to federal court, denouncing the claims as “completely false and fabricated.” He expressed shock and disappointment at the severity of the accusations, citing his anticipation of aggressive tactics from DraftKings based on prior experiences.
Addressing specific allegations, Hermalyn dismissed DraftKings’ claim regarding his visit to Fanatics’ Los Angeles offices, stating that he was actually in Pennsylvania meeting with Rubin. He clarified that discussions regarding his role at Fanatics occurred after January 27, countering DraftKings’ insinuation of premeditated collaboration.
Furthermore, Hermalyn rejected DraftKings’ accusation regarding his reasons for travel, emphasizing the emotional turmoil following the loss of a friend to cancer, coinciding with a pivotal career opportunity at Fanatics.
However, DraftKings maintains its stance, alleging that Hermalyn’s departure was strategically timed to inflict damage, particularly during the lead-up to Super Bowl 2024. The company asserts that Hermalyn clandestinely obtained confidential information, including business plans, to leverage in his new role at Fanatics.
Amidst the legal standoff, DraftKings has also levied additional allegations against Hermalyn, including claims of inappropriate behavior towards a female colleague during his tenure.
In response to DraftKings’ allegations, Fanatics has dismissed them as baseless and attributed them to resentment over Hermalyn’s departure. A spokesperson for Fanatics characterized DraftKings’ actions as “sour grapes,” suggesting an attempt to tarnish Hermalyn’s reputation.
At the same time, Hermalyn has filed a lawsuit challenging the enforceability of non-compete clauses in his contract, arguing they are overly restrictive.
DraftKings contests the lawsuit’s jurisdictional grounds, insisting it should be heard in Massachusetts, not California, where Hermalyn now resides.