RAPAPORT… The notice and claims process has begun in a $295-million Proposed Settlement with De Beers in the United States. Both individual consumers and members of the diamond trade are eligible to make a claim under the proposed settlement.
The settlement covers a series of class action lawsuits, which allege that De Beers charged anti-competitive prices for the rough diamonds it sold. They also claim that De Beers monopolized the rough diamond market, and disseminated false and misleading advertising. The class action lawsuits only bring claims against De Beers.
Under the proposed settlement, a $295-million fund has been created. This settlement fund will be distributed to two groups, or classes, of purchasers: the Direct Purchaser Class and the Indirect Purchaser Class.
The Direct Purchaser Class includes persons or businesses, other than Diamond Trading Company sightholders, that purchased any gem diamond directly from De Beers, or one of its diamond mining competitors, between September 20, 1997, and March 31, 2006.
The Indirect Purchaser Class includes persons or businesses that purchased gem diamonds, diamond jewelry, or other products containing diamonds from someone other than De Beers or one of its mining competitors between January 1, 1994, and March 31, 2006. The Indirect Purchaser Class is further divided into two subclasses: The Consumer Subclass, which includes persons who purchased gem diamonds and diamond products for their own use or for a gift, and the Reseller Subclass, which are businesses which purchased gem diamonds and diamond products for resale.
“This proposed settlement will provide a cash benefit to consumers who purchased diamonds or diamond jewelry, and broad injunctive relief addressing the conduct alleged in the complaints,” said Josef Cooper of Cooper & Kirkham in San Francisco, California.
More details about the $295-million Proposed Settlement and how to file a claim are available at http://www.diamondsclassaction.com/ or by calling 1-800-760- 5431.
Joe Tabacco, of Berman DeValerio Pease Tabacco Burt & Pucillo in San Francisco, said, “We are very pleased with the Proposed Settlement. After a number of years, we were finally able to achieve a very substantial settlement of these lawsuits. I encourage anyone who believes they may be a Class Member to call the claims administrator or visit the settlement website to get complete information about their rights. Retailers and others in the diamond trade are also eligible to file claims to share in the settlement.”
Class members do not need to do anything to stay in the Class, however they must submit a claim form by May 19, 2008 to participate in the Proposed Settlement. To receive a payment, you must complete a Claim Form. Claim Forms can be obtained by visiting http://www.diamondsclassaction.com/ or by calling 1-800-760-5431.
Those wishing to object or exclude themselves from the Proposed Settlement must do so no later than March 4, 2008. The Plan of Distribution and full details on how to properly file a claim, an objection, or exclusion request are available by visiting http://www.diamondsclassaction.com/ or by calling 1-800-760-5431.
The Court will hold an approval hearing on April 14, 2008. At that time, the Court will consider whether to approve the Proposed Settlement and award attorneys’ fees and costs. All potential Class Members are encouraged to visit http://www.diamondsclassaction.com/ or call 1-800-760-5431 to determine if they are a Class Member and to obtain information about their legal rights.