On Dec. 27, court documents from the case against the Nchain chief scientist, Craig Wright, explained a large portion of his recent dismissal motions were found “not warranted” and were denied. Wright is being sued for 1.1 million BTC in a legal case in Florida that alleges he manipulated David Kleiman’s family.
The Lawsuit Against Craig Wright for 1.1 Million BTC Moves Forward
According to case 18-CV-80176 Kleiman v. Wright filed in South Florida, Craig Wright is accused of allegedly interfering with David Kleiman’s bitcoin assets after he died. Kleiman’s family believes David and Wright played a role in the early days of Bitcoin and possibly created the technology. This assumption was bolstered back when Kleiman, a forensic computer investigator was featured with Wright in tech publications such as Wired and Gizmodo, because they too thought the duo were possible Satoshi suspects.
Kleiman died in 2013 with very little money after fighting with MRSA, a bacterium infection that spreads in different parts of the body. His brother Ira Kleiman alleges Wright of plotting to “seize Dave’s bitcoins and his rights to certain intellectual property,” according to the legal documents filed last February. Kleiman’s estate is suing Wright for approximately 1.1 million BTC ($3.9 billion) or the coin’s fair market value and damages associated with IP theft.
Wright Accused of Grifting the Kleiman Family and Transferring David’s Bitcoins to Various International Trusts
Nchain’s Craig Wright and his legal representation, Rivero Mestre LLP, attempted to dismiss the case earlier this year. Wright’s motion emphasized that Kleiman’s lawsuit was full of “supposition, speculation, conflicting allegations, hearsay, and innuendo.” The decision published on Dec. 27 explains the Florida district Judge Beth Bloom has granted Wright’s motion to dismiss counts III, and IV. However, Wright must answer to counts I, II, V-IX of the amended complaint and he has until Jan. 10, 2019, to respond. For instance the 40-page court document states:
[The] court finds that plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged a claim for conversion — The Amended Complaint alleges that defendant converted at least 300,000 bitcoins upon Dave’s death and transferred them to various international trusts, was an unauthorized act that deprived the plaintiffs of the bitcoins therein — Accordingly, plaintiffs’ claim for conversion (Count I) survives defendant’s motion to dismiss.
The Kleiman complaints further allege that Wright took advantage of a family who didn’t know too much about the technology. According to the lawsuit, the Kleiman family was unaware of certain property and IP assets that existed. Allegedly, Wright reached out to Dave’s elderly father 10-months after he passed and said, “he was not seek[ing] anything other than to give [him] information about [his] son, and offering to help the Kleiman family recover what Dave owned.”
The Amended Complaint also says that Wright promised shares to David’s family for a company called “Coin-Exch” and detailed the shares were “worth millions.” Wright is also accused of “several fraudulent omissions and misrepresentations” to the Kleiman family and related to the property and assets David may have owned. Judge Bloom explains that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has not decided on whether or not bitcoins are considered “money.” But Bloom emphasized the court still takes alleged victims and injury that occurs on home soil very seriously.
“This controversy concerns a Florida company, regarding Florida assets (bitcoins mined in Florida) and intellectual property developed by a Florida company, where both the injured parties are Florida citizens,” Bloom’s decision states. “Therefore, the Southern District of Florida undeniably has a strong interest in adjudicating a case in which its residents claim that harm was committed against them.”
The court documents assert that with counts I, II, V-IX still standing, Wright has not met his “heavy burden” against the opposing Kleiman estate and “dismissal on forum non-conveniens grounds is therefore not warranted.”
What do you think about the case against Craig Wright? Let us know what you think about this legal matter concerning 1.1 million BTC in the comments section below.
Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Google, Wiki, Pacer, and Florida case 18-CV-80176.
Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.