Retailer Faces More Lawsuits Over EGL Int’l Reports

Two more consumers are suing Nashville, Tenn., retailer Genesis Diamonds over its sales of diamonds with EGL International reports.

The retailer has already been the subject of a critical local news broadcaston the issue, as well as a lawsuit filed one month ago from a consumer complaining that he was sold an over-graded diamond.

The two new suits, filed this week in the circuit court for Davidson County, Tenn., bear certain resemblances to the initial one.

In the first, plaintiff M. Nathaniel Averitt says that in October 2012, he bought a pair of diamond cufflinks from the three-store chain, which carried EGL International reports. Those reports called one diamond a 3.01 ct. G SI excellent cut and the other a 3.04 ct. G SI very good cut. They were appraised at $135,000, it said. 

But according to the lawsuit, another appraisal called the 3.01 ct. stone an M SI1 very good cut, and the 3.04 ct. stone an N SI1 good cut. It valued them at $22,500.

The suit also contends that Averitt later bought a diamond eternity band with was represented as a 7.8 ct. F VS1 excellent cut, purported to be worth $45,000. A second appraisal termed it a J VS1 good cut, worth $18,000, the suit says.

Genesis lawyer Eli Richardson says the cufflinks were custom-ordered and designed from scratch. “Genesis Diamonds worked for weeks to have them completed,” he says. “The complaint makes it sound like he just walked in off the street one day and selected these cufflinks out of the case.” 

He adds that Genesis’ out-of-pocket costs for the cufflinks were more than $53,000—or more than double the plaintiff’s appraisal—plus time and labor. Averitt paid $85,000, plus tax, for them.

He says there was never any kind of report issued for the eternity band, which he called a “blatant error” in the complaint. 

The second suit, launched by plaintiff Richard Vien, claims that Genesis sold him a diamond with an EGL International report that called it a 1.01 ct. D S12 excellent cut. An appraisal valued it at $6,395. However, the GIA graded the stone as an F I1 excellent cut, worth about $4,400, the complaint says.

Both suits charge fraud and violations of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and seek triple the difference between the stones’ stated value and what they are actually worth.

Richardson counters that both plaintiffs never complained about their purchases. 

“You have to wonder whether the customer was perfectly satisfied with his purchase until he encountered a plaintiff’s attorney, who saw an opportunity to take advantage of Genesis Diamonds and use litigation to try to make money,” he says.

He adds that when the attorney contacted the store with their complaints, both customers were offered full refunds, which they turned down, preferring to sue.

Richardson also told local station WSMV that all grading is subjective.

“EGL International is known to be more lenient than GIA,” he said. “That does not make EGL International certifications fraudulent, just more lenient.”

EGL International could not be reached for comment, but has called its grading “more practical.”

The lawyer who filed the first suit, Brian Manookian, had said more suits were coming, and that he hoped to consolidate them all into a class action. However, the two new complaints use a different lawyer, Brian Cummings. The lawyers did not respond to requests for comments on whether the suits were related—although Richardson notes that both attorneys once worked at the same firm.

JCK News Director