Mint Mobile Opposes Amended Complaint in Customer’s Cybercrime Suit

Wireless carrier Mint Mobile told the court that a man suing for nearly $500,000 in cryptocurrency losses should not be allowed to amend certain claims in his complaint, which the court largely upheld last month in the face of Mint’s motion to dismiss.

The case concerns three separate occurrences that allegedly culminated in the theft of all the cryptocurrency in the plaintiff’s Ledger account. The first was a data breach impacting Mint, a self-described “mobile virtual network operator,”and exposing customer information. The second was an unknown perpetrator convincing Mint to port-out the plaintiff’s SIM, and the third, occurring an hour after the port-out, was the untraceable transfer of the plaintiff’s cryptocurrency from his crypto wallet.

The customer sued alleging that Mint was liable for the lost funds, and in last month’s opinion, the court said he stated a claim on most causes of action. Judge William Alsup ruled that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) claim, however, did not pass muster. The plaintiff’s cryptocurrency loss was unrelated to a computer or system, and therefore outside the scope of the law, the opinion said. 

In last week’s filing, Mint pressed that the proposed amended complaint alleges an unrecognized theory of harm under the CFAA, that Mint aided and abetted an unauthorized person’s access to a protected computer, meaning the plaintiff’s cell phone. The opposition said that several courts have rejected the same argument. In addition, Mint contended that if the CFAA permitted aiding and abetting liability, the statute would have explicitly said so as it does for two inchoate offenses, attempt and conspiracy.

Mint also contested the plaintiff’s invocation of punitive damages, noting that they are “an extraordinary remedy ‘disfavored by the law.’” The wireless carrier argued that the plaintiff did nothing to fix his factually flawed first complaint, devoid of allegations that Mint’s conduct was more than reckless or otherwise demonstrated a conscious disregard of its duty of care to the customer.

“Plaintiff continues to rely on sweeping, conclusory characterizations of Mint’s conduct cloaked in theory and barren in fact,” the opposition emphasized.

The plaintiff is represented by Putterman Law APC and Silver Miller and Mint by Cipriani & Werner PC and Clark Hill LLP.