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SC justices hear Coinbase’s first arguments in favor of class action arbitration

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Coinbase was met with some resistance on March 21 as it attempted to persuade Supreme Court justices that certain class action suits should go to arbitration.

Coinbase argues in favor of arbitration

As previously reported by CryptoSlate, Coinbase faces lawsuits from various customers over alleged wrongdoing. The firm aims to settle those disputes quickly.

Now, Coinbase’s legal counsel has argued to U.S. Supreme Court justices that district court proceedings should be suspended and that the cases should go to arbitration.

Coinbase’s request was met with resistance. Members of the Supreme Court including Justice John Roberts noted that U.S. Congress has granted Coinbase the right to immediate appeals, meaning that it will not have to wait for a final judgment before appealing.

Roberts called this right “the most valuable right [Coinbase] could have,” while Justice Elena Kagan called the right a “pretty valuable thing” despite the company’s demands.

Neal Kumar Katyal, counsel for Coinbase, attempted to counter the justices’ argument. He stated that in certain circumstances, the right to immediate appeal would “effectively” be withheld from Coinbase if any litigation proceeds in district courts.

Justice Brett Kavanagh, meanwhile, acknowledged that Coinbase does not want to be “coerced into a massive settlement” without being able to use the right to immediate appeal. As such, he called the company’s concern “realistic.”

A final decision on the matter is expected by the end of June.

Customer’s lawyer cited industry collapses

The current proceedings concern a class action lawsuit originally filed by Abraham Bielski, a customer of Coinbase’s exchange. Bielski sued the company in 2022, alleging that the company failed to protect him after he lost money to a scam.

Hassan Zavareei, who represents Bielski, was present at the current hearing and highlighted the risks of a delayed settlement. He noted that many Coinbase competitors have entered bankruptcy and said that clients are “wondering whether Coinbase is going to be around by the time these appellate court decisions are decided.”

Another customer, David Suski, filed a suit over an allegedly misleading Coinbase giveaway. The current hearing only mentioned that case in passing.

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