Attorneys for Dr. Craig Wright have filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law in Kleiman v Wright, urging Judge Beth Bloom to deliver an early verdict on six counts and on damages—effectively ending the suit in his favor.
A motion for judgment as a matter of law, or JMOL, is available to a party at trial if they feel the jury has no legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find in their opponent’s favor. In other words, the plaintiffs have failed to make out their case to the point that no reasonable jury could find for them.
Most consequentially in this motion, the defense is arguing that Ira Kleiman’s side—which is claiming that Dave Kleiman was a partner of Dr. Wright in creating Bitcoin as Satoshi Nakamoto—has failed to provide any competent evidence that would permit the jury to value the Bitcoin and intellectual property at issue in the case.
Their principal objection is that the plaintiffs have not established any basis for valuing the minimum 300,000 bitcoins which they allege Dave Kleiman’s estate is entitled to. The plaintiffs had proposed either simply calculating the value if the coins were sold all at once (which the defense says is a practical impossibility) or by calculating a hypothetical series of sales over time (which the defense complains the plaintiffs have introduced no evidence of how that is to be conducted).
“Given the ‘total absence of any evidence (by expert opinion or otherwise) or logical explanation describing how the jury could have [calculated damages],’ any damages here would be impermissibly speculative, which precludes a finding for plaintiffs a matter of law,” the lawsuit says.
The defense also argues that the plaintiffs have “failed to offer any competent evidence of the alleged value of the purported intellectual property at issue.”
Specifically, they allege that the evidence offered by the plaintiffs is imprecise and not relevant to valuations of intellectual property relating specifically to Dave Kleiman.
They also allege that the plaintiffs have failed to establish evidence for six counts to the point that no reasonably jury could find for the plaintiffs. The counts are count 1 (conversion), count 2 (unjust enrichment), count 5 (breach of fiduciary duty), count 6 (breach of partnership duties of loyalty and care), count 7 (fraud) and count 8 (constructive fraud).
That leaves the counts of civil theft, but this they also argue the plaintiffs have failed to establish any basis for damages on this count, too.
Finally, they argue that to the extent that the counts of conversion, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of partnership duties relate to wrongful taking of Bitcoin, those counts are time barred as the plaintiffs are alleging the taking occurred through fraudulent contracts enforced in the Supreme Court of New South Wales no later than November 4, 2013. This puts them outside of the four-year limitation period under Florida State law.
Judge Bloom can choose to grant all, some or none of the requests by the plaintiff. A response from Judge Bloom is likely to come quickly.
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