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Author Topic: Class Action Lawsuit vs. Bitcoinica for USD funds  (Read 2950 times)
BadBitcoin (James Sutton)
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May 22, 2012, 12:59:22 PM
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As per the title, I'm interested in possibly setting up a class action lawsuit against bitcoinica for both the return of our USD funds (bitcoins would never hold up in court as currency I imagine), however I think we would have a very strong case in taking our funds back, as well as receiving punitive damages for the in-access of our funds for what, 3 weeks?

Its been 7 days since the last official report from the bitcoinica consultancy, This is a short amount of time so I would give them some time to come up with something substantial for their next report, however it has been 11 days since the breach, I'd give them a full month to return the funds before any legal action is given, but its up to you guys what you think.

And before you guys ask, I have 5k USD in bitcoinica right now, I assume there are a few with quite a bit more, let me know your thoughts on the matter.

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May 22, 2012, 01:12:16 PM
 #2

As per the title, I'm interested in possibly setting up a class action lawsuit against bitcoinica for both the return of our USD funds (bitcoins would never hold up in court as currency I imagine), however I think we would have a very strong case in taking our funds back, as well as receiving punitive damages for the in-access of our funds for what, 3 weeks?

Its been 7 days since the last official report from the bitcoinica consultancy, This is a short amount of time so I would give them some time to come up with something substantial for their next report, however it has been 11 days since the breach, I'd give them a full month to return the funds before any legal action is given, but its up to you guys what you think.

And before you guys ask, I have 5k USD in bitcoinica right now, I assume there are a few with quite a bit more, let me know your thoughts on the matter.

I had 10K USD locked up in a Forex business gone sour in Switzerland and the process is many many months and a few years. And I have not seen anything yet. Calls to the law firm in charge of the liquidation resulted in a reminder the process will take a "long long time"... I have since moved on and given up all hope and made it back many times elsewhere.
Locked up funds for 3 weeks is sadly very little in my experience.
The process will cost a boat load and take ages and cause more aches than 5K worth but that is my humble opinion.

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May 22, 2012, 01:30:46 PM
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Not to be negative, but class actions are kind of a US thing. Some other countries use them, but not all. First thing you need to do is figure out which jurisdiction you would pursue this in (NZ I'm assuming), and find out if such a thing is even possible there.

lonelyminer (Peter Šurda)
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May 22, 2012, 01:56:13 PM
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If somebody steals your car, house, TV, laptop, beer, Facebook account or your dog, you can get a court order to have it returned. The same applies to Bitcoins.
There are precedents where "theft" of virtual goods (e.g. from a MMORPG) went to court and the prosecution was successful. Furthermore, irrespective of whether the "theft" aspect is recognised, there is still an unauthorised computer access involved, and this is illegal and subject to damages. Also, unlike "theft" of virtual goods, the prosecution of an unauthorised use of computers is compatible with the anti-IP legal systems.
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May 22, 2012, 02:58:30 PM
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Not to be negative, but class actions are kind of a US thing. Some other countries use them, but not all. First thing you need to do is figure out which jurisdiction you would pursue this in (NZ I'm assuming), and find out if such a thing is even possible there.

the owner of bitcoinica lives in Cali...  if thing do not progress soon i think his info should be more well known...

I actually read about a class action suit initiated in New Zealand against a FOREX exchange broker...

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May 22, 2012, 07:33:28 PM
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Not to be negative, but class actions are kind of a US thing. Some other countries use them, but not all. First thing you need to do is figure out which jurisdiction you would pursue this in (NZ I'm assuming), and find out if such a thing is even possible there.

Had the organization properly notified its customers of the "reorganization" to New Zealand?  Proper notification might be where account-holders had to opt-in to acknowledge this change before the account would continue with the new owner.

Singapore was where Bitcoinica supposedly was based out of previously, and there might even be customers able to argue they were led to believe this was (still) operated as was initially claimed -- by XWayLab out of Delaware.

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May 22, 2012, 07:43:02 PM
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Not to be negative, but class actions are kind of a US thing. Some other countries use them, but not all. First thing you need to do is figure out which jurisdiction you would pursue this in (NZ I'm assuming), and find out if such a thing is even possible there.

Had the organization properly notified its customers of the "reorganization" to New Zealand?  Proper notification might be where account-holders had to opt-in to acknowledge this change before the account would continue with the new owner.

Singapore was where Bitcoinica supposedly was based out of previously, and there might even be customers able to argue they were led to believe this was (still) operated as was initially claimed -- by XWayLab out of Delaware.
Anyone who had agreed to the most recent ToS automatically acknowledged the "reorganization" to New Zealand.

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May 29, 2012, 09:17:30 PM
 #8

Not to be negative, but class actions are kind of a US thing. Some other countries use them, but not all. First thing you need to do is figure out which jurisdiction you would pursue this in (NZ I'm assuming), and find out if such a thing is even possible there.

the owner of bitcoinica lives in Cali...  if thing do not progress soon i think his info should be more well known...

He lives in Seattle, not Cali.

By the time you all spend money on lawyers, your USD will be returned so I think this is a waste of time and money, for now.

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May 29, 2012, 09:39:30 PM
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In order to pursue a class action (group litigation in NZ), you need a court to certify that both a cause of action and an identifiable class exist.  Assuming you can meet that bar, class actions are extremely expensive to pursue and typically take years to reach resolution - getting someone to underwrite the legal costs is very difficult unless a huge settlement offer or a huge award of damages is anticipated (Commonwealth countries do not generally award large amounts of exemplary damages).

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May 30, 2012, 02:04:33 AM
 #10

bitcoins would never hold up in court

Why do people keep saying this.

If somebody steals your car, house, TV, laptop, beer, Facebook account or your dog, you can get a court order to have it returned. The same applies to Bitcoins.

If it cannot be returned, the court can decide on a reimbursement of either your cost price, the open market selling price or the sentimental value that the item has to you.

What percent of stolen laptops do you guess that courts recover for people? I imagine it will be lower (unless you guessed 0) for bitcoins (at least for a very long time).

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May 30, 2012, 02:35:11 AM
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Sub for interest (and the Starfish waves from Wellington).

Class action here is not common, and the awards under various cases are not like US courts.  I could check the company registration easily enough, and you could take a fair trading case (or small claims to do it cheap).  Under the CCompanies Act, you could also go after the Directors for breaching their duties (reckless trading section 135-ish).
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May 30, 2012, 03:03:18 AM
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In order to pursue a class action (group litigation in NZ), you need a court to certify that both a cause of action and an identifiable class exist.  Assuming you can meet that bar, class actions are extremely expensive to pursue and typically take years to reach resolution - getting someone to underwrite the legal costs is very difficult unless a huge settlement offer or a huge award of damages is anticipated (Commonwealth countries do not generally award large amounts of exemplary damages).

This is true. Commonwealth countries work on a compensatory compensation model, rather than punitive as they do in the US. What that means is that the goal is to put the damaged party back where they would have been if no damage would have occurred. For example you are in a car accident and miss 5 days of work and aren't paid. You receive the equivalent of what your wage would have been for that time plus the cost of medical expenses. No "pain and suffering" awards. It's not the courts job to give you a windfall, but to restore you to where you were pre-incident.

In this case it would mean you get your USD back, and maybe get your court cost reimbursed.

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May 30, 2012, 03:40:25 AM
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I'm guessing that there is a reason Kim Dotcom relocated to NZ, and is, thus far anyway, fighting extradition to US courts from there. He has also just successfully gotten a partial release on the asset seizure from the NZ courts. At best you would spend hundreds of thousands of bitcoins worth of energy, time and wealth, and you would get what back? More empty promises and stories from this latest "incident"? Unless the Directors of Bitcoinica have secured their involvement with the "Company" with personal assets you will be very, very hard pressed to win an action against them, in pretty much any court.

That doesn't make them any less evil, or stupid for allowing this purported "theft" to occur, but I'm afraid legal action isn't going to do much in the way of satisfaction.

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May 30, 2012, 03:57:22 AM
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I'm guessing that there is a reason Kim Dotcom relocated to NZ,

Oddly enough, it's a nice place to live.  he has a $30m mansion which gives him a shit load of space, the weather is nice, and it's reasonable cheap.  Also (for some reason I haven't quite worked out yet), New Zealand is a popular destination for Germans (despite it being a really long way to come).  Germany is one of the top ten tourism markets for us domestically.

More likely, the Feds thought we would be an easy place to bully and maybe the RIAA wanted to pick on the 96A provisions (local version of the three strikes law).
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May 30, 2012, 04:20:13 AM
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I'm guessing that there is a reason Kim Dotcom relocated to NZ, and is, thus far anyway, fighting extradition to US courts from there. He has also just successfully gotten a partial release on the asset seizure from the NZ courts. At best you would spend hundreds of thousands of bitcoins worth of energy, time and wealth, and you would get what back? More empty promises and stories from this latest "incident"? Unless the Directors of Bitcoinica have secured their involvement with the "Company" with personal assets you will be very, very hard pressed to win an action against them, in pretty much any court.

That doesn't make them any less evil, or stupid for allowing this purported "theft" to occur, but I'm afraid legal action isn't going to do much in the way of satisfaction.

NZ is classed as an offshore financial centre by the IMF and others, meaning it has laws which are friendly to non-resident businesses.

It's way too early to be thinking about legal action in respect of Bitcoinica.   Commonwealth systems do tend to take into account what attempts the parties have made to try to resolve the issue between themselves and often get pissy if people haven't made such an attempt.  I think you'll find that even at the small claims level, information about how you've attempted to resolve the issue is required.

I doubt that any court would regard Bitcoinica as being "in default" at this point in time.  Inconvenient as it is for people to be unable to access their funds, it's unlikely a court would entertain an action until they have been given a reasonable opportunity to resolve the problem and return funds to users.  I doubt they would be found to be under a legal obligation to return funds "on demand" and their ToS may even exclude them from liability for loss of funds by any means.

Right now, the thing most likely to ensure that Bitcoinica users receive their funds back is the fact that Tihan's projects are being backed with venture capital.  CoinLab doesn't need to scare aware other potential investors by mishandling this incident.  It's already been stated publicly that the association with Bitcoin made raising venture capital more difficult.  Believe it or not, they have a lot more at stake if they fuck this up than Bitcoinica's users do.




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May 30, 2012, 04:23:43 AM
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I'm guessing that there is a reason Kim Dotcom relocated to NZ,

Oddly enough, it's a nice place to live.  he has a $30m mansion which gives him a shit load of space, the weather is nice, and it's reasonable cheap.  Also (for some reason I haven't quite worked out yet), New Zealand is a popular destination for Germans (despite it being a really long way to come).  Germany is one of the top ten tourism markets for us domestically.

More likely, the Feds thought we would be an easy place to bully and maybe the RIAA wanted to pick on the 96A provisions (local version of the three strikes law).

Not odd at all... its on the short list for relocation of the Loup Lair if I ever hit the lotto. I think you are absolutely right- the US jackboots thought they could push New Zealand around, and thought that since they spoke English they would recognize the Americans as being all-powerful, all-knowing, and imperially entitled to take action withing their borders. That's how this ass-clown we are stuck with for a few more months as President thinks, why not shove the same mentality down the throat of every English speaking country?

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May 30, 2012, 04:47:28 AM
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Not odd at all... its on the short list for relocation of the Loup Lair if I ever hit the lotto. I think you are absolutely right- the US jackboots thought they could push New Zealand around, and thought that since they spoke English they would recognize the Americans as being all-powerful, all-knowing, and imperially entitled to take action withing their borders. That's how this ass-clown we are stuck with for a few more months as President thinks, why not shove the same mentality down the throat of every English speaking country?

It's kind of funny given New Zealand's history of not letting itself get pushed around by America.  I remember the outrage when the ANZUS treaty pretty much fell apart because NZ refused to let US Navy vessels have access to its ports when it created a nuclear-free zone.  I think the US was genuinely surprised that such a small country would stand up to it in that manner.

It's a bit sad to see Australia and New Zealand now caving to US pressure again in many ways and once again allowing the US to exert its influence over domestic affairs.  I hope the voting public gets tired of it again very soon and before too much damage is done.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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May 30, 2012, 01:55:12 PM
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It's kind of funny given New Zealand's history of not letting itself get pushed around by America.  I remember the outrage when the ANZUS treaty pretty much fell apart because NZ refused to let US Navy vessels have access to its ports when it created a nuclear-free zone.  I think the US was genuinely surprised that such a small country would stand up to it in that manner.

It's a bit sad to see Australia and New Zealand now caving to US pressure again in many ways and once again allowing the US to exert its influence over domestic affairs.  I hope the voting public gets tired of it again very soon and before too much damage is done.
I'm pretty sure that the hard facts of that matter was that the loss of US troops spending money into their economy has made them start thinking a little bit. I'm not saying they are wrong or anything, but US troops like to spend lots of money when they are parked somewhere doing nothing.

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June 09, 2012, 07:36:54 AM
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I'm guessing that there is a reason Kim Dotcom relocated to NZ,

Oddly enough, it's a nice place to live.  he has a $30m mansion which gives him a shit load of space, the weather is nice, and it's reasonable cheap.  Also (for some reason I haven't quite worked out yet), New Zealand is a popular destination for Germans (despite it being a really long way to come).  Germany is one of the top ten tourism markets for us domestically.

More likely, the Feds thought we would be an easy place to bully and maybe the RIAA wanted to pick on the 96A provisions (local version of the three strikes law).

Not odd at all... its on the short list for relocation of the Loup Lair if I ever hit the lotto. I think you are absolutely right- the US jackboots thought they could push New Zealand around, and thought that since they spoke English they would recognize the Americans as being all-powerful, all-knowing, and imperially entitled to take action withing their borders. That's how this ass-clown we are stuck with for a few more months as President thinks, why not shove the same mentality down the throat of every English speaking country?

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4478949/Nuclear-ship-ban-irrelevant-to-US  one more reason to like NZ  Smiley

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