De Beers Class-Action Settlement in October

Public notice regarding claims for five separate lawsuits recently settled by De Beers are expected to be published in October 2007, according to the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.

A fund of approximately $290 million has been established for payments of claims made by members of the classes who are entitled to receive a portion of the fund, JVC said in a statement. The classes covered under the settlement include direct and indirect purchase of diamonds and resellers of diamonds, including retailers. Completing the claim form is a simple process. Guidance about completing and filing the claim forms will be available on JVC’s Web site.  Reseller class members can direct questions about acquiring or completing the forms to Cecilia Gardner, JVC’s president, chief executive officer, and general counsel at jvcquestions@aol.com

JVC added that it has learned that numerous companies in the jewelry industry have been contacted by entities, often law firms, offering to facilitate (for a fee) the submission of claims for those resellers of diamonds or diamond jewelry who may be entitled to a portion of the settlement fund. These entities and the service they provide are standard in the class action lawsuit profession. The service they provide to class members consists of assisting in the completion of the necessary forms to “opt-in” so that a class member will be qualified to receive payment. The payment is a calculated portion of the settlement fund distributed according to a formula worked out by the lawyers in the case.

Class members who decide to use one of these outside services will be responsible for supplying financial research and bookkeeping to the service, JVC said. The service will fill in the claim forms with the information provided by a jeweler. 

JVC said it takes no position regarding the value of the service provided by these entities. The claim forms will be easily available to all class members once they have been finalized. The JVC will have guidance on completing the form, and the claim form itself on its Web site. The information that will be necessary to submit via the claim form is known only to the resellers themselves, and will have to be gathered for completion of the form by the reseller. Each member of the class must determine for themselves the added value of engaging the services of a firm to complete a publicly available form with data available only to the reseller.

For updates about the DeBeers class action settlement and claim forms and for information about JVC’s products and services, including JVC’s new DVD series on legal compliance and anti-money laundering information, visit JVC’s Web site.