Legal disputes between cryptocurrency proponents have repeatedly caught headlines in the digital asset industry. The Dave Kleiman vs. Craig Wright lawsuit, which took another turn recently, was one of the most sensational disputes out of a few in crypto space.
On Tuesday, United States Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ruled that Craig Wright only had to pay twenty percent of the legal fees owed to Dave Kleiman’s brother, Ira Kleiman.
The court said that the amount quoted by Ira Kleiman’s lawyers was too high and had been corrected by its discretion. Kleiman’s counsels had requested a total amount of $592,588 in legal fee which was then reduced to $113,760. The Judge claimed the hourly rates cited by the lawyers [$610-$1050] was too high when compared to the regular rates between $600 and $700.
Kleiman’s counsel also took a hit when Judge Reinhart added that Wright did not have to pay for any work that was not directly related to motions or hearings. This also included the cost of tasks that had taken too long to be completed. The Judge further pointed out that there were difficulties in clocking the total fees associated with the hiring of a blockchain forensic expert.
The $113,760 that Craig Wright needs to pay includes the $40,000 owed to the blockchain forensics expert. Faketoshi will also have to pay an additional $52,040 as an expense award. The judgment was tracked by several members of the cryptocurrency with many of them making their own remarks. Stephen D Palley, the Financial Advisor to The Block tweeted:
“In a different kind of pandemic case, the court yesterday awarded Ira Kleiman’s lawyers fees of $165,800.09 from Craig Wright for dealing with discovery issues and general chazerai. Should I write more about this or would you rather I pile on w/ more terrifying apocalypse news?”
“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.”
It was not all bad news for Kleiman as the Judge allowed his counsel to procure fees for efforts to compel compliance from Craig Wright. However, it was a bittersweet victory as the fees was slashed by almost 50% – 60%. Most of the efforts went in forcing Wright to show proof for all his said Bitcoin holdings. Wright has never been able to prove his ownership of the Bitcoin deposits and was earlier slammed by Reinhart for failing to do so.
Reinhart blasted Wright’s testimony and called it a perjured piece of evidence. The fallout from the earlier verdict greatly hurt Wright’s case and the reduced lawyer fees may be his only win from this entire ordeal.
The case between Wright and the estate of Dave Kleiman started when the former claimed that he owned a share of Kleiman’s Bitcoin assets. Since Kleiman had passed away in 2013, the issue was taken up by his brother. Ira Kleiman on his part had been successful in some way of protecting his late brother’s cryptocurrency legacy.