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U.S. APPEALS COURT TO RE-HEAR DE BEERS US$295 MILLION SETTLEMENT CASE
30 August 2010

A U.S. appeals court has ordered a re-hearing of the De Beers antitrust settlement case following the filing of an amicus brief by the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America (DMIA).

On August 25th, having been granted status of "friend of the court," the DMIA filed a brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for a re-hearing of the US$295 million settlement case, which had been rejected on July 13th on technical issues. The case was sent back to the U.S. District Court in New Jersey for further review.

As the amicus brief divulges, "Most of the members of the DMIA are class members in this case having claims under the federal antitrust laws and under pendent state laws. Collectively, the members of the DMIA would receive a significant portion of the settlement proceeds of this litigation.   Even more importantly, all members of the DMIA stand to benefit from the consent injunction that is part of the settlement in this case.  The settlement will further promote a free, open and fair marketplace for diamonds."

In its granting a petition for a re-hearing of the case last Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated its earlier July 13 ruling to reject the US$295 million De Beers settlement case and ordered that the case be re-heard "en banc" or in front of the entire court bench of 15 judges.

"The DMIA's agreeing to participate as an amicus helped to bring about this result," DMIA President Ronald J. Friedman said in a press release. "We felt it was in the best interests of our membership to get the De Beers settlement and distribution of the funds back on track, and we are very pleased that the court has so quickly granted the rehearing."

The 2005 settlement agreement, reached by De Beers in an effort to end the price-fixing and monopoly charges against so it could enter the U.S. market directly, defined two types of claimants: direct purchasers, including sightholders, and indirect purchasers, including retailers and consumers, of De Beers' diamonds. Both groups claimed they were harmed by De Beers' anti-trust behavior when they bought diamonds between 1994 and 2006. De Beers established a US$295 fund for distribution. A sum of US$22.5 million was to be divided between direct purchasers while a sum of US$272.5 million was to be divided between indirect purchasers.

To read the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit's ruling for a rehearing, click here.

To read the DMIA's Amicus Brief, click here.  

For more background on the De Beers case click the link below: 

 http://www.diamondintelligence.com/magazine/magazine.aspx?id=8837

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