Coinbase has laid out its appeal against an ongoing lawsuit tied to the defunct exchange Cryptsy.
As CoinDesk has previously reported, Coinbase is pushing back against a court decision from June, when a Florida judge sided with a group of Cryptsy customers seeking damages from the startup. Those users alleged that Coinbase – at least unwittingly – abetted the theft of millions of dollars by Cryptsy CEO Paul Vernon by allowing him to deposit and later exchange bitcoin for dollars.
Coinbase unsuccessfully fought the case in Florida, countering that affected users were bound by agreements with Vernon, and that any claims should be brought in private arbitration. After U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra ruled that Cryptsy’s customers could move ahead, Coinbase filed an appeal (though the startup would go on to request a delay to file its initial arguments).
In its appellate brief filing last week, lawyers for Coinbase reiterated the argument that users of Cryptsy would need to pursue any claims through arbitration.
“It is that contract that created the alleged duties to Cryptsy’s users that, according to plaintiff, Coinbase failed to discharge in a proper manner. Accordingly, as a matter of equity, plaintiff is bound by the arbitration clause: equity will simply not allow Plaintiff to enforce the provisions of the contract that he likes (those provisions that created duties as between Coinbase and Cryptsy) while repudiating another provision of the same contract that he does not like (the arbitration clause).”
The update is the latest in a lawsuit that’s an offshoot of the class-action suit filed against Cryptsy and Vernon in January 2015, which came days after the Florida-based cryptocurrency exchange collapsed amid allegations of fraud.
The startup’s failure followed months of growing complaints by customers over withdrawals and growing fears that the exchange was insolvent. Vernon later denied that he had stolen the funds, pointing a finger at hackers whom he alleged had struck the exchange over a several-year period.
Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Coinbase.
The full appellate brief can be found below:
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