The case between the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Ripple Labs Inc. has taken a new turn with the potential to make or break it. The development concerns the Deliberative Process Privilege (DPP) that regulatory bodies enjoy in the US. Both the SEC and Ripple have been ordered by the presiding judge to file briefs no later than Wednesday.
The briefs will be addressed to the Defendants Motion to Compel (DMC) which may grant defendants a prayer to the court to compel the prosecuting attorney to present documents without pleading DPP. The DMC was previously used in an unrelated case in which the prosecution pleaded DPP. The order was given by Judge Netburn, the judge in charge of the case.
The order, which was given yesterday, referenced an unrelated case that was decided at the US Court of appeals on November 29. The case had the prosecution pleading DPP. Judge Netburn now wants both parties to submit a briefing regarding it as it might follow the president of the former case.
As of writing, neither the SEC nor Ripple have commented on the order, but it is believed that they are working on the judge’s order to present their briefs before Wednesday. The case between both parties has now dragged on for almost a year since the SEC accused Ripple of selling unregistered securities in December 2020.
How Will the Case Be Impacted?
In the November 29 case, the judge ruled that every conversation held within and by an agency in relation to its work and information disclosure is covered by the DPP. This means that agencies can legally choose to not reveal some documents that they deem confidential.
In the case vs. Ripple, the SEC can now seek DPP protection for any document that it claims contains information regarding certain decisions. Specifically, DPP can be used to prevent the in-camera viewing of three documents that were earlier submitted by the SEC. Ripple had earlier filed for the court to compel that the documents be viewed.
But by simply saying that the documents contain some information regarding its information-making process, the SEC can avoid being compelled to show them. Ripple has appealed for the court to order full disclosure just as it was compelled to provide certain details. As of writing, Ripple’s appeal has not been granted.
Crypto and Legal Communities Await the Outcome
The case between the SEC and Ripple has become arguably the biggest between a regulatory body and a crypto company. The case is especially important because it could serve as a template for future regulatory frameworks to be developed for the crypto industry.
But it is also important to the legal community because it is a case involving a relatively new technology that is set to change global finance and indeed every sector and industry. Cryptocurrency is still largely misunderstood by many, and it could take some years for people to truly grasp the power of decentralized finance.