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Court Partially Grants Ripple’s Summary Judgment Motion

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently issued a pivotal ruling in the ongoing securities lawsuit involving Ripple Labs, its subsidiary XRP II, and CEO Brad Garlinghouse. The court’s order, delivered by Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton, partially granted and partially denied Ripple’s motion for summary judgment, affecting multiple claims of securities law violations.



Breakdown of the Court’s Decision

In a mixed ruling, the court granted summary judgment for Ripple on several federal and state class action claims while denying it on an individual claim brought by plaintiff Bradley Sostack under California law. The court’s document highlights:

  • Federal and State Class Claims: The court ruled in favor of Ripple, stating that the federal securities claims were barred by the statute of repose, which limits claims to within three years of the security’s first public offering. Additionally, state securities claims were dismissed due to the plaintiff’s inability to prove privity between XRP purchasers and Ripple or its agents, as required under California law.
  • Individual Claim: The court denied summary judgment on Sostack’s individual claim against Garlinghouse. This claim focused on an alleged misleading statement made by Garlinghouse in a December 2017 interview, where he claimed, “I’m very, very long XRP as a percentage of my personal balance sheet.” The plaintiff argued this was false, citing Garlinghouse’s sale of millions of XRP throughout 2017.

Implications and Next Steps

Judge Hamilton’s decision allows the claim regarding Garlinghouse’s statements to proceed to trial. The court found sufficient evidence to suggest a reasonable jury could determine whether XRP purchasers might have expected profits based on Ripple’s efforts rather than general market trends. The ruling states:

“Given the relative novelty of cryptocurrency and the absence of controlling law on the motivations of a reasonable cryptocurrency investor, the court declines to rule as a matter of law that a reasonable investor would have expected profits solely from general market trends, rather than from Ripple’s efforts to facilitate XRP’s use in cross-border payments, among other things.”

This decision underscores the complexities involved in applying traditional securities laws to the rapidly evolving cryptocurrency market, and the outcomes of these proceedings could set important precedents for future cases.

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