Lawyers Duke It Out over Paraiba Lawsuit

John P Hannon II, attorney for David Sherman and Paraiba.com, has fired back at American Gem Trade Association’s attorney Thomas Shuck, of the law firm Parker Milliken, Los Angeles.

Responding to the eight-page letter Shuck sent him last week, Hannon begins by telling Shuck, “Your present threats to sue me and Mr. Sherman appear to be nothing more than an attempt to dissuade witnesses by threats of economic ruin. This conduct is similar to that undertaken by organized crime to prevent witnesses from testifying.”

Hannon then tells Shuck he is trying to confuse the issue. “I believe you have intentionally misconstrued the nature of the claim by Paraiba.com and Mr. David Sherman as against AGTA and the remainder of your clients. The basic claim of my clients is fairly straightforward and involves nothing more complex than a suit to collect damages for your clients’ commission of consumer fraud.”

Shuck had spent a good deal of effort pointing out trademark precedent as well as historic reference and AGTA-accepted definition to the secondary use of the place name Paraiba as a color variety. Hannon says it’s still not legal. 

“When the conduct of your clients in passing off inferior stones as Paraiba stones became apparent, your clients engaged in a cover-up of their actions. Rather than admitting to improper conduct on the part of members of AGTA, the members got together and simply redefined, not once, but twice, what constitutes a Paraiba tourmaline. … This conduct of your clients is analogous to something like members of a conspiracy agreeing that they can sell sausage with fiberglass filling and pass the sausage off as pure pork. The fact that your clients have agreed among themselves that their illegal actions regarding the marketing of inferior stones should be made legal after the fact by the redefinition of the Paraiba stone is of little import. Your present claim that your clients have ratified illegal acts does not make the acts somehow legal.”