JVC: Class-Action Suits OK

Industry members should not be alarmed if they are solicited by companies offering to help them file claim forms to receive a settlement from the class-action lawsuit against De Beers, reports the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.

Cecilia Gardner, JVC executive director and general counsel, tellsJCK she has received two or three calls a week from industry members asking if these companies—who provide their services in return for a fee or portion of the settlement—are legitimate or fraudulent.

“These are legitimate companies, and they provide a legitimate service, and while we’re neither endorsing nor discouraging the use of their services, we want industry members to be aware that they can do the same process themselves,” she says.

The forms that claimants need to fill out to receive their settlements haven’t been published yet, but when they are they will be readily accessible, she says. And even if a jeweler or diamond dealer chooses to hire a settlement-assistance firm, they will still have to do a fair bit of legwork to get the information needed for the forms.

The information that needs to be provided—regardless of who fills out the form—is anything regarding the sale or purchase of diamonds or jewelry with diamonds during the period covered by the class-action suit. The forms themselves are fairly straightforward, Gardner says.

The suit consolidates five lawsuits that were settled together last year. De Beers has established a fund for payment of claims. There are two classes of claimants: resellers of diamonds or jewelry containing diamonds and consumers of such.