Saturday May 14, 2022

In the ongoing lawsuit, Ripple has filed a six-page response to the SEC’s assertions that the Hinman documents were protected by attorney-client privilege.

As previously reported, the SEC went ahead to make new privilege assertions in its continued efforts to avoid the release of emails related to the 2018 Ethereum speech of William Hinman, the former director of the SEC’s Division of Corporate Finance.

Ripple’s response reads:

The Court has ordered the SEC multiple times to produce documents related to the formulation of a speech that former Director of Corporation Finance William Hinman delivered in his personal capacity in June 2018. First, the SEC resisted, claiming the deliberative process privilege protected them from production. The Court rejected that argument. Now, the SEC has doubled back to a theory it has not raised in several briefing rounds: that they are all protected attorney-client communications because Hinman shared drafts of the speech with other SEC staff, including some lawyers, for the primary purpose of seeking legal advice.

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For four reasons, Ripple argues that the emails might not be protected by attorney-client privilege, as the SEC claims. First, the record demonstrates that Hinman delivered his speech in his personal capacity. Second, while Hinman was entitled to receive legal advice when discharging his role at the SEC, Ripple claims that the substance of his personal remarks was not within the scope of any such attorney-client privilege, noting that the former SEC official did not have an attorney-client relationship with SEC lawyers in his personal capacity.

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Ripple also argued that the communications do not involve any confidential information concerning the agency that might be protected by attorney-client privilege. It further says that the SEC lacks the standing to assert attorney-client privilege on behalf of the former SEC official.

Parties request extra time concerning the Metz report

In fresh updates shared by James K. Filan, Ripple and the SEC have filed a joint request for an extension of time regarding the attorney’s fee connected to the Dr. Albert Metz Supplemental Report.

Earlier in the case, the Court denied the Ripple defendants’ (Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen) motion to strike the Metz report while reopening discovery until May 13 to re-depose Dr. Metz. The SEC was, however, ordered to pay “reasonable expenses” regarding filing the motion and re-deposing Metz.

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