SEC vs Coinbase Case Set for July 13 After Exchange’s ‘Creative' Opening Response

The date for the court hearing is much earlier than expected, prompted by a "creative" defense tactic by Coinbase – it filed its response 40 days before the deadline of August 7, 2023.

AccessTimeIconJun 30, 2023 at 6:38 a.m. UTC
Updated Jul 13, 2023 at 2:57 p.m. UTC
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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will present its response to Coinbase's (COIN) first legal defense on July 13, according to a court order on Thursday.

The date for the hearing is now much earlier than expected, prompted by a "creative" defense tactic employed by Coinbase, where in the exchange filed its first response 40 days before the deadline of August 7.

According to the rules, the SEC had to file a response to Coinbase's defense by July 3. The SEC asked for an extension of three business days owing to the July 4 holiday weekend, which was granted by the court.

Additionally, the court converted the pre-trial conference to a pre-motion conference and pushed it forward to July 13 at 14:00 UTC from August 24. A pre-motion conference is an application made by the prosecutor or defense attorney, requesting the court make a decision on a certain issue before the trial.

In response to the SEC’s complaint, Coinbase has argued that many of the tokens highlighted in the SEC’s case fall outside the Commission’s purview.

Coinbase used creative defence strategy

“Coinbase has answered the SEC’s complaint with numerous defenses, including that this action violates due process and constitutes an abuse of discretion. But there is a more fundamental problem with the SEC’s case— one that the Chair recognized two years ago and that entitles Coinbase to judgment on the pleadings now: The subject matter falls outside the SEC’s authority,” Coinbase’s counsel said in a recent letter to the court.

The exchange's tactic to advance the case via a motion for judgment on the pleadings by filing its response 40 days early is not seen as unusual in cases like this but is a "creative strategy,” one legal expert said. The exchange's move is designed to “get documents helpful to its cause in front of the Judge through the Answer,” said MetaLawman, a lawyer and Twitter legal commentator in a tweet thread.

“On a motion to dismiss, a judge may only consider the factual allegations in the Complaint and any documents attached to, or referenced in, the Complaint--nothing else,” explained MetaLawMan. “On a motion for judgment on the pleadings, by contrast, a judge may consider other pleadings filed in the case, which would include the defendant’s Answer to the Complaint.”

Coinbase did not immediately respond to CoinDesk's request for further comment.

During the court appearance on July 13, Judge Katherine Polk Failla will determine if Coinbase will be allowed to proceed with this motion.

“This is typically a formality, and permission is granted unless there is some very good reason offered by the other side,” said MetaLawMan.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh is CoinDesk's regulatory reporter covering India. He holds BTC and ETH below CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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