De Beers Antitrust Claims May Finally Be Paid



If you filed a claim in the De Beers class action antitrust settlement, you may finally be getting your money in the near future, thanks to a new court decision.

On Dec. 20, the En Banc Panel of the Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit affirmed the $300 million De Beers settlement reached in 2006. The panel’s decision overturns an earlier court ruling that put the settlement in limbo.

The only remaining option for the objectors, Jewelers Vigilance Committee president and CEO Cecilia Gardner tells JCK, is to ask for a rehearing, or appeal to the Supreme Court. But one objecting lawyer says that isn’t likely.

“As the court recognized, this was a tremendous victory for all purchasers of diamonds,” says New York University professor Samuel Issacharoff, one of the appellant attorneys. “I think this litigation is finally behind us all.”

Class action attorney Jared Stamell agrees that “based on this decision, we expect no further litigation.”

“I’m glad this is finally affirmed,” he says. “We can begin now to put the machinery of distributing money into place. We hope to complete this in a manner of months.”

He noted that the original $300 million has been sitting in escrow for six years and has gained interest.

“[Class members] will get a little more money with the interest,” he says. “But with interest rates so low, I don’t know.”

Gardner cautions that any payouts likely won’t be a big sum for most class members in the jewelry business—“enough to take your staff out to lunch,” she says.

She adds that the period of time to file claims has expired.