Objectors to a huge settlement with De Beers filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the settlement.  On April 2, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari filed by members of the indirect purchaser class in the De Beers class action lawsuits.  A second petition for certiorari filed by another member of the indirect purchaser class is still under consideration by the Supreme Court.

The denial of this petition means that the previous decision of the “en banc” Third Circhit Court of Appeals denying the class members’ attacks on the settlement will be reinstated.

Payment of claims will likely be delayed until the Supreme Court acts on the second petition for certiorari.

I previously reported on this blog that the Third Circuit had approved a settlement of the De Beers antitrust class action.  This new decision will be especially important in indirect purchaser antitrust cases because some states’ antitrust laws allow indirect purchasers to sue, but others restrict suits to direct purchasers.  Now a defendant can settle claims by residents of all states at once even when a class could not be certified for trial due to state-law differences. Continue reading “De Beers settlement will have impact on indirect purchaser antitrust claims”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued an opinion upholding the settlement in the class action litigation against the South African company De Beers, the world’s largest diamond supplier, for allegedly conspiring to monopolize the sale of rough diamonds.

The appellate court affirmed an order by U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler of the District of New Jersey that approved a settlement under which De Beers agreed to pay $295 million to U.S. jewelry makers, retailers, and consumers who purchased diamonds and diamond jewelry beginning in 1994.  The settlement also prevents De Beers from continuing its illegal business practices and requires De Beers to submit to the jurisdiction of the Court to enforce the settlement. Continue reading “Third Circuit upholds $295 million settlement in De Beers antitrust class action”

The plaintiffs and defendants reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit against De Beers S.A., and several related entities, and the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey approved the $295 million settlement.  The complaint alleged that De Beers fixed prices in the market for rough gem-quality diamonds by, among other things, executing output-purchase agreements with competitors, establishing a market-wide cartel to set production limits, and restricting wholesalers from reselling diamonds outside of certain geographic territories.  The first category of plaintiffs, purchasers who brought diamonds directly from De Beers, asserted violations of §§ 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1-2.  The second category of plaintiffs, those who did not purchase directly from De Beers, such as consumers and jewelry retailers, asserted claims under state antitrust, consumer protection, and unjust enrichment laws of all fifty states and the District of Columbia.  The second category of plaintiffs could only rely on state law as a route to monetary relief because they lack standing to bring a federal antitrust claim for damages under  the Clayton Act.  Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois, 431 U.S. 720, 735-36.  Some states, like Oregon, have passed statutes called Illinois Brick repealers, which allow indirect purchasers to assert antitrust claims under state law. Continue reading “$295 million class action antitrust settlement vacated”