While the cryptocurrency community deals with floundering market prices, the billion-dollar Kleiman v. Wright Lawsuit continues in Florida. On March 17, a court filing shows that the self-professed Bitcoin inventor Craig Wright has been ordered by the judge to pay $165,500 in attorney fees. U.S. magistrate Bruce Reinhart granted in part some of the legal fees the plaintiffs were asking for but denied the plaintiffs’ motion for the sum of $658,000.
Judge Orders Craig Wright Must Pay $165K for the Plaintiffs’ Legal Fees
For over a year now, Craig Wright, the man who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, has been battling in court against his former business partner’s family. The Kleiman v. Wright lawsuit started in February 2018 and the Kleiman estate is suing Wright for allegedly manipulating 1.1 million in BTC assets and intellectual property as well. On March 11, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the judge overruling a number of Wright’s recent court objections and ordered Wright to provide better testimony and documentation by the end of the week. The plaintiffs had various plans scheduled to depose a number of fact witnesses as well. However, the recent Covid-19 virus scare has made it so depositions need to be done by video conference. Documents must be filed by using a shared file and certain depositions may be rescheduled over international travel concerns.
Despite Covid-19 slowing down the court system, Judge Bruce Reinhart decided to make his decision concerning the Kleiman estate’s plea for attorney fees worth over $658,000. Our newsdesk detailed on November 27 that Kleiman’s legal team was advancing a motion for legal fees and Judge Beth Bloom decided to have Judge Reinhart look over the request. The Kleimans’ motion was pursuing approximately $66,023 in expenses incurred during the compel process and roughly $592,558 in lawyer fees. On March 17, Judge Reinhart ruled:
Based on the foregoing, plaintiffs’ motion for attorneys’ fees and costs is granted in part and denied in part. By March 30, 2020, defendant (Craig Wright) shall reimburse plaintiffs: $165,800.
Reinhart Reviews Court Costs and Expert Presentations
The recent order handed down by Judge Reinhart shows that he meticulously went over the plaintiffs’ attorney fee request and felt their estimate was far too high. The judge compared current lawyer costs, expert witness payments, and the charges assessed by Dr. Matthew Edman. The cryptography expert Dr. Edman was integral to the plaintiffs’ case against Wright and Judge Reinhart took note of his presentation at the contempt hearing. Edman provided the court with a supplemental affidavit that highlighted the documents Wright submitted to the court as evidence were likely “modified” and “backdated.”
“I am aware that Dr. Edman’s assistance was vital to plaintiffs’ presentation at the contempt hearing, however, I agree that it is difficult to assess Dr. Edman’s fees because no information is provided regarding his hourly rate or how he spent his time,” Judge Reinhart ruled. “I find that $40,000 constitutes a reasonable expense for the expert fees associated with this contempt hearing.”
The judge’s order has been trending on social media and forums since the filing was first published and the crypto community discussed Wright’s recent situation. “It’s an interesting order — I mean that is a pile of moolah, but the court whacked the rates and hours down quite a bit,” attorney Stephen Palley tweeted. Other people commented on how Wright got lucky he only had to pay for 20% of the original demand from the plaintiffs’ attorneys. Even though Wright has to fork over $165K by the end of the month, the billion-dollar lawsuit continues and the plaintiffs are still seeking $5.1 billion (before punitive or treble damages).
What do you think about Judge Reinhart ordering Craig Wright to pay $165K by March 30? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
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