In the ongoing legal battle between Ripple Labs and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), District Judge Analisa Torres has referred the case to Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn for General Pretrial, including the crucial aspects of scheduling, discovery, non-dispositive pretrial motions, and settlement. The General Pretrial refers to a pre-trial hearing where the attorneys representing the plaintiff and defendants work together to establish the relevant facts, issues, and applicable laws that will be presented during the subsequent court trial.
Shortly after that, Judge Netburn ordered both parties to agree on 3 mutually convenient dates to schedule a settlement conference, “if they believe it to be productive at this time.” The judge recommends scheduling a settlement conference six to eight weeks beforehand due to the court’s busy schedule, as first reported by FOX Business journalist Eleanor Terrett. This move has sparked anticipation within the XRP community.
Ripple Vs. SEC: Settlement Ahead?
Judge Netburn’s directive is significant, as it indicates a potential opportunity for both parties to engage in productive discussions and explore the possibility of a settlement. However, it is important to note that the judge’s suggestion does not guarantee an imminent resolution to the case. As clarified by legal experts, the parties must first decide if they believe a settlement conference would be productive at this stage.
“It means that if they do decide on a date, it will have to be scheduled 6-8 weeks in advance of the desired date due to the court’s busy schedule,” explained Terrett. While the court urges both Ripple and the SEC to explore settlement possibilities, the decision ultimately rests with the involved parties.
There is a possibility that one or both sides may decline to participate in a settlement conference or fail to reach an agreement even if they do engage in discussions. However, the court’s recommendation highlights the importance of considering alternative paths to resolution.
“They will likely schedule one so as not to anger the court. But it will go about as well as the last two settlement conferences before it went. Settlement only happens when both parties finally reach the compromise each can stomach,” pro-XRP attorney Fred Rispoli commented with a touch of skepticism. Settlement negotiations require a delicate balance, as each party must reach a compromise that aligns with their respective interests.
Remarkably, Judge Netburn has been engaged in the case since its inception. She rendered a crucial ruling in favor of Ripple against the SEC. In a significant development, Judge Netburn issued an order compelling the SEC to relinquish the highly contentious Hinman documents, which encompass the draft versions of William Hinman’s speech delivered on June 14, 2018.
At press time, the XRP price was at $0.7450.
Featured image from Bloomberg, chart from TradingView.com