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SEC v. Ripple: Here’s the full story behind these ‘irrelevant documents’

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The much-talked about lawsuit took yet another interesting turn. For some context, the SEC had filed a letter on 14 March, claiming the court’s decision to deny Ripple executives’ motion. In addition to that, they argued that the court made the deliberative process privilege (“DPP”) documents under dispute irrelevant to the case. 

I beg to differ 

On 21 March, Ripple and the Individual Defendants filed their response to counter the SEC’s argument. James Filan, a famed lawyer, explained why the Hinman documents weren’t irrelevant due to Judge Torres’s decision on the Motion to Dismiss.

According to Filan, the SEC was wrong to assert that Judge Torres’s order denying Defendants (Garlinghouse and Larsen’s) motions to dismiss made the communications related to the Hinman speech.

The filing noted:

“The 13 January Opinion compelling the SEC to produce communications regarding the Hinman speech was expressly not premised on a finding that the Individual Defendants’ articulation of the standard of recklessness was correct and the SEC’s was erroneous. Therefore, Judge Torres’s recent decision does not merit reconsideration of the Court’s 13 January Opinion.”

As the court didn’t undermine the relevance of the Hinman speech communications, this judgement could apply to the Estabrook notes. Nonetheless, Hinman’s speech communications were directly relevant to the fair notice defense.

‘Contrary to the SEC’s suggestion, Defendants have never suggested that communications related to the Hinman speech were relevant only to the recklessness standard’, the Ripple counsel stated, adding that the SEC’s internal documents were relevant to the Howey analysis, scienter and fair notice.

Smells fishy

Considering the play above, one could point at SEC’s move to potentially hide a vital document. Was this case? Well, Jeremy Hogan, another renowned attorney highlighted this narrative in a tweet from 22 March that read:

Sensed it right 

Relevant or not, many within the crypto community saw aforementioned SEC’s move to buy more time or stall the proceedings. Talking about time, the SEC submitted a request for an extension “until no later than one week” after the individual defendants filed their answers to inform the court whether the plaintiff intends to conduct additional discovery.

The plaintiff noted that Ripple proposed a summary judgment schedule with opening briefs and related fillings due in mid-May.

Ripple executives and individual defendants Chris Larsen and Brad Garlinghouse quickly acknowledged and filed a counter to object to this ‘delayed resolution’. Nevertheless, this wasn’t the first time when the SEC laid out reasons to deny defendant’s motion post a brief ‘extension’.

Seeing a pattern here?


Shubham is a full-time journalist/ Crypto data analyst at AMBCrypto. A Master's graduate in Accounting and Finance, Shubham's writings mainly focus on the cryptocurrency sector with particular emphasis on market research studies and communications for >2 years. Also, a die-hard Chelsea fan #KTBFFH.
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