U.S. Court Approves Plan That Could Bring Resolution to SEC-Ripple Lawsuit

A New York court approved joint plans by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Ripple Labs that specified schedules for redactions governing sealing issues in upcoming summary judgments, according to defense lawyer James K. Filan.

The move is seen as crucial to bringing the longstanding lawsuit to a swift resolution.

In Dec. 2020, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Ripple, issuers of the eponymous XRP crypto token, for selling the asset, considered an unregistered security.

Finding common ground

Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen, and CEO Brad Garlinghouse were also cited as co-defendants in the matter. The company denies XRP is a security. Securities are under strict regulation from U.S. agencies.

On Sept. 9, the SEC filed a motion asking that sections of its filings that contain information about the identity of its proposed expert witnesses remain concealed. It was previously argued that such measures could protect witnesses from harassment.

Ripple opposed the suggestion, arguing that the case has to remain fully public. Both parties may now have found common ground, defense lawyer James K. Filan, tweeted.

In a joint letter to U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres, who is presiding over the matter, the SEC and Ripple agreed to unseal portions of both their legal filings, meaning that the case will be public. Some aspects will still have to be redacted, however.

Debevoise and Plimpton, lawyers representing the SEC, said they sought the consent and approval of Garlinghouse and Larsen to have the aspects of the case fully made public, as the ruling is set to make a precedent for how states handle cryptocurrency securities.

“The proposal will ensure prompt, public access to the parties` briefs (as to which any proposed redactions are anticipated to be minimal), which is expected to be consistent with the strong presumption of public access,” Andrew Ceresne, a Partner at Debevoise and Plimpton wrote to the judge.

District Judge Analisa Torres granted the request, laying out a schedule where both parties should have submitted their arguments.

“Under the joint proposal, the parties would be further required to file public, redacted version of all documents within 21 days of the court`s ruling on the omnibus sealing motions,” Judge Torres said in a judgment dated Sept. 12.

Keeping Big Brother in check

Both the SEC and Ripple will be given seven days after submission to produce revised public summaries. Ripple has refused to engage the SEC for an out-of-court settlement, saying they are fighting to safeguard the crypto industry from undue regulatory control.

The company roped in former SEC director of corporation finance, William Hinman, to be an expert witness in the case. The regulator is opposed to this possibility.

It argues that subjecting former officials’ decision-making processes to judicial scrutiny and the possibility of continued participation in lawsuits years after leaving public office, may significantly deter qualified candidates for public service.

XRP fell 5.1% to $0.33 over the past 24 hours. The asset has slumped 90% from its all-time high of $3.40 reached on Jan. 7, 2018, according to CoinGecko. The SEC lawsuit has been blamed as one of the major factors affecting the XRP price.

Ripple is a privately-held fintech company that provides a global payment solution via its patented payment network called Ripple Network. The company connects banks, payment providers, and crypto exchanges, enabling real-time settlements and lower transaction fees.

Ripple has continued to see growth in use and adoption, with the number of active XRP wallet addresses rising above 4.3 million.

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