More on Tomorrow’s Supreme Court Arbitration Argument: Last Minute Mootness Claim Withdrawn

Posted By: Cenadra Gopala-Foster CPR Speaks,

By Cenadra Gopala-Foster

There was some late and last-minute activity in the run-up to tomorrow’s oral arguments in the Coinbase Inc. v. BielskiNo. 22-105, arbitration appeals case.

  • Respondent Abraham Bielski and Respondents David Suski, Jaimee Martin, Jonas Calsbeek, and Thomas Maher moved for a divided oral argument in their consolidated cases. They asked for an equal division of 15 minutes for each of their distinct oral arguments, which focus on different positions and interests concerning the controlling issue on whether an appeal cuts off lower-court litigation denying the motion to arbitrate. The Supreme Court denied the original plaintiffs’—in the Supreme Court, the respondents--motion for divided argument on March 6.
  • Last month, respondent Abraham Bielski filed a suggestion of mootness, to alert the Supreme Court of the party's concerns in the wake of Coinbase's petition for a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals en banc rehearing on the matter, regarding the denial of an appeal to compel arbitration. Because there is no longer a pending appeal of a motion to compel arbitration—the Ninth Circuit declined to hear the en banc appeal on the decision to deny arbitration--there would be no mootness. The March 1 Bielski brief, however, suggested that the Suski companion-case litigation activity could render the Supreme Court inquiry moot. In response, petitioner Coinbase claimed the potential Suski mootness to be academic and not a valid concern for the Court. The Suski respondents, on the other hand, said they needed the Supreme Court decision to timely resolve their case in a March 13 letter response. But that response had followed by three days Bielski’s withdrawal of the February suggestion of mootness in which Bielski noted the potential of the Supreme Court case to affect other appeals in the Suski litigation, changing its initial belief the Supreme Court case might be moot.

The documents regarding the motion for division of argument and brief and letter responses on Bielski’s suggestion of mootness can be found here on the Supreme Court’s docket page.

CPR Speaks has highlighted the various positions on the Coinbase case:

  •  For amicus briefs from consumer groups in support of respondents Abraham Bielski and David Suski, see Cenadra Gopala-Foster, “#SCOTUS’s Arbitration Appeals: Why the Case Should Continue When a District Court Denies ADR,” CPR Speaks (Mar.17) (available here).
  • For amicus briefs from the business community in support of Coinbase, a web-based company that provides a platform for buying and selling digital currency, were filed and then posted by the Court in January.  See Cenadra Gopala-Foster, “Defense Friends: Coinbase’s #SCOTUS Amicus on Why the Ninth Circuit Should Be Reversed,” CPR Speaks (Feb. 28) (available here).

For more background on tomorrow’s case, see Cenadra Gopala-Foster, “Arbitration’s SCOTUS Return: Bitcoin Firm Seeks to Halt Litigation While ADR Is on Appeal,” CPR Speaks (Feb. 21) (available here).

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The author is the 2022-2023 CPR Intern under CPR’s consortium agreement with Washington, D.C.’s Howard University School of Law, where she is a second-year student.