On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the latest legal battle involving cryptocurrency platform Coinbase Inc., which is seeking to send two separate lawsuits filed against it to arbitration. The issue was whether litigation in lower courts must be automatically stayed while a defendant appeals a denial of its motion to compel arbitration, given that Congress did not provide such automatic stays in the text of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Plaintiffs’ attorney Hassan Zavareei argued that there is no such rule in favor of automatic stays when it comes to this situation.
In Bielski, a federal district court had previously declined to stay the case while Coinbase appealed the denial of its motion to compel arbitration. The Supreme Court agreed to consider whether district courts retain the discretion to stay or not stay their cases pending those appeals, or whether such an appeal requires a district court stay in all instances. In Tuesday’s Supreme Court argument, Mr. Zavareei stated that the correct interpretation of the FAA allows district courts to craft stays depending on many factors including discovery allowed by arbitration, “strength of the arbitrability appeal,” “the weighing of the equities,” and “the public interest at stake in the underlying litigation.” Mr. Zavareei also made clear the harms that plaintiffs would suffer if the Court adopted Coinbase’s automatic-stay rule. With “cryptocurrency markets collapsing under our feet,” as Mr. Zavareei pointed out, “there’s an interest on the other side that could push people to try and settle early to—to try and escape harms like bankruptcy.”
The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision by July. Mr. Bielski is represented by Partners Hassan Zavareei and Sabita Soneji, Of Counsel Wesley Griffith, Associates Glenn Chappell, Spencer Hughes, and Leora Friedman; and Public Interest Fellow Schuyler Standley of Tycko & Zavareei LLP, supported by paralegal Aaron McReynolds.
The case is Coinbase, Inc. v. Abraham Bielski, No. 22-105, in the Supreme Court of the United States.
Read More About the Case
Justices Split Over Request for Automatic Arbitration Stays, Law360
Former Flight Attendant Takes on Coinbase in Debut at High Court, Bloomberg Law
U.S. Supreme Court divided over Coinbase arbitration dispute, Reuters
Coinbase asks Supreme Court to keep customer disputes out of court, Yahoo!Finance
Justices Appear Divided in Crypto Arbitration Dispute, The National Law Journal
Supreme Court hears arguments in Coinbase arbitration case, Axios
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