Amicus Briefs Argue Crypto Exchange Coinbase Can’t Compel Arbitration in Dogecoin Sweepstakes Dispute

News | February 22, 2024 By:

On Monday, January 29, 2024, several amicus curiae briefs were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Coinbase Inc. v. David Suski et al. weighing in on whether Coinbase can compel arbitration in a dispute over a cryptocurrency sweepstakes.

The case dates back to 2021 when David Suski and other plaintiffs sued Coinbase over a Dogecoin sweepstakes promoted on the Coinbase website. While account signups included an arbitration agreement, the sweepstakes terms specified that disputes would be resolved in court. When Coinbase moved to compel arbitration, the district court denied it, finding the sweepstakes terms superseded the arbitration agreement.

Three scholars, comprising professors from Drexel University, Yeshiva University and UC Davis School of Law, the American Association for Justice, and consumer group Public Citizen filed amicus briefs supporting the plaintiffs’ position that arbitration cannot be compelled. They argued that determining whether the arbitration agreement still applies requires considering whether the sweepstakes terms modified or replaced the original terms – an issue that turns on consent and state contract law, not the Federal Arbitration Act.

The scholars emphasized that the dispute involves evaluating whether a valid arbitration agreement exists at all, rather than just interpreting the scope of an existing agreement. Both AAJ and Public Citizen contended that under general contract principles, the plain terms showing Coinbase could sue in court indicated the parties did not consent to private arbitration for sweepstakes disputes.

With oral arguments scheduled for later this month, the filings aim to guide the Supreme Court in determining whether an arbitrator assessment of scope is necessary given the parties’ intent as expressed in their agreements’ terms regarding dispute resolution for this cryptocurrency promotion. A ruling could impact how delegation clauses interact with other contracts between businesses and consumers.

Please contact BlockTribune for access to a copy of this filing