De Beers Antitrust Payouts May Face Further Delays



You may have to wait even longer for those checks from the De Beers antitrust settlement.

One of the objecting attorneys, John Pentz, told JCK he plans to appeal the class action settlement to the end of the line—the U.S. Supreme Court.

Even if the court declines to take the case, the continued legal wrangling will likely further delay the distribution of the settlement first reached between De Beers and class action attorneys in 2006.

“If the case is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the determination whether the Supreme Court accepts the case or not could take another year,” says Jewelers Vigilance Committee president and CEO Cecilia Gardner. “If the Supreme Court does decide to accept the case, then the litigation could go on much longer.”

The only thing that could speed up the process, Gardner says, is if the class action attorneys and objecting attorneys settle their claims among themselves, and the objectors drop any further appeals.

An appeal to the Supreme Court would just be the latest in a string of delays that have held up the resolution of the nearly six-year-old settlement.

In July 2010, a court ruling from the Third Circuit overturned the original settlement. A subsequent decision by the En Banc Panel of the Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit reinstated the decision after taking 10 months to render a verdict.

A draft of the appeal, provided by Pentz, poses questions of how class actions are certified, and how a class action should define members of its class.

For more on the settlement, read “The De Beers Class Action Settlement: How Long Will it Drag On?”