Ripple, SEC seek extension of expert discovery deadline among others
The deadline for fact discovery in the SEC V. Ripple Labs case is fast approaching on 31 August. However, the two parties have now moved to court with a joint request to grant them a brief extension.
According to the court filing, Ripple and the SEC submitted a proposed order reflecting joint requests for “Depositions after the Fact Discovery Deadline,” “Expert Discovery Deadline,” and “Statements of Material Facts Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 56.1.”
As per the request filed,
“…due to the unexpected illness of an attorney for one of the parties who was integral to the Larsen deposition, and the intervening vacation schedules of other attorneys, the parties will not be able to reasonably complete the previously scheduled depositions of Garlinghouse and Larsen before August 31.”
The parties requested the court to allow them to conduct “two depositions after the close of fact discovery on September 14 and September 20, 2021.”
This meant that the fact discovery would close as scheduled on 31 August. However, the deposition of Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and the executive chairman will be pushed for two separate dates in September, after the fact discovery deadline.
The court had previously extended the original fact and discovery deadlines by two months from 2 July to 31 August for fact discovery, and from 16 August to 15 October for expert discovery. However, due to the aforementioned reasons, if the deposition is not completed, the expert reports will also be delayed. The filing added,
“Expert reports were initially due under the current schedule on September 10. The deposition testimony of these individuals could affect the content of the parties’ contemplated expert reports. Accordingly, the parties respectfully request that the Court correspondingly extend expert discovery until November 12…”
Meanwhile, the “Statements of Material Facts Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 56.1” also need to be extended as Ripple executives’ motions to dismiss are pending before the Court. Additionally, there are two pending motions.
The depositions, provided an extension is granted by the court, will be held in September and may affect the contents of the individual parties’ statements. Due to these reasons, the parties have requested the court to allow them to,
“…propose a briefing schedule for summary judgment and/or pre-motion conference letters and the exchange of 56.1 Statements at a later date, and in any event after the close of expert discovery.”
These developments are likely to reset the timer on the lawsuit. Despite the parties offering reasons for the request to delay, the community has been questioning individual motives. The ambiguity maintained in the filing was a “professional courtesy,” according to Attorney Filan.
It is clear that the SEC and Ripple are still going after each other, seeking certain documents and other evidence. These include Ripple employees’ Slack messages, documents relating to SEC’s position on Bitcoin, Ethereum, William Hinman’s deposition documents, and so on.
Both Ripple and the SEC have been striving to strengthen their position in the court. However, the ongoing delay begs the question of whether a settlement is possible? The chances seem to be slimming as the matter draws on. It will be interesting to see what shape it takes going forward.