In the ongoing case of the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission v. Ripple Labs, it would seem that not one day passes without one of the parties filing a new letter or a motion. This time, it’s the San Francisco-based blockchain firm in the news after counsel Andrew Ceresney wrote to Judge Sarah Netburn requesting that some of the documents attached with its letters to the SEC remain sealed.
— James K. Filan (@FilanLaw) March 25, 2021
According to Ceresney, “they contain Ripple’s confidential, private business information and the presumption of public access to documents filed solely in connection with discovery disputes is minimal.” The counsel added,
“All four documents were designated as Confidential by Ripple under the terms of the Protective Order passed by Judge Torres. Making these documents public at this preliminary stage would allow the SEC to unilaterally undo the protections offered by the protective order.”
Ceresney also contended that the documents in question aren’t judicial documents under law, and even if interpreted as such, “any weight assigned to the presumption of access must be minimal.”
The aforementioned letter also expanded on the nature of the exhibits in question. The said exhibits include an internal email between Ripple employees discussing financial information with a private foundation, a memorandum expanding on Ripple’s business strategy, as well as email communications between Ripple and an early-stage investor.
The counsel for Ripple Labs concluded the letter by asserting that the regulatory agency should not be given unilateral powers to make Ripple’s confidential documents, including documents reflecting business strategy, fundraising plans, legal advice, and product development, public merely by attaching them to a court filing.
It’s worth noting, however, that Ceresney also requested leave to propose redactions in the documents, if the court rules the documents should indeed be made public.
This isn’t the first time Ripple and the SEC have found each other at loggerheads about what documents are relevant in the present case. Just a few weeks ago, Ripple execs Larsen and Garlinghouse’s personal finances came under the scanner after the SEC argued that they had intermingled their finances with Ripple Labs’.
Just this week alone, another tussle broke out between the two over Ripple’s request to compel the SEC to provide documents pertaining to Bitcoin and Ether. To the same, the SEC responded,
“…. simply invoking comparisons to Bitcoin and Ether (or labeling a digital asset a currency) is not a cognizable defense. Discovery pertaining to Bitcoin and Ether can therefore have no bearing on the issues in this case.”
The same will be the subject of discussion during a telephonic conference scheduled for 6 April.