Rob Bates On EGL Saga: Extortion, Grading & Lawyers

In-depth
31/01/2016 09:59

In an elaborate investigative piece that is clearly stirring up much debate, JCK News Director Rob Bates dives into yet another episode of the EGL overgrading saga, and wonders if overgrading lawsuits have become overkill. Nashville law firm Cummings Manookian recently launched an aggressive flyer and online campaign against a handful of small jewelry retailers – and in some cases their personnel -  in the U.S., seemingly aimed at recruiting dissatisfied customers in their crusade against overgrading by the former EGL International diamond grading lab. In 2014, Manookian’s lawsuits against Genesis diamonds over sales of EGL International-graded diamonds ultimately led to Rapaport banning the lab's certificates and the closing of EGL.

Manookian’s tactics are now raising eyebrows, Bates says. According to at least one of the targeted retailers, the law firm is trying “to extort” money from the jewelers, by offering to stop their campaign if the company agrees to engage Cummings Manookian as their law firm for the next ten years, aggregating to a $3 million fee. Responding to these allegations, Manookian claims the jewelers are trying to discredit him with a “false narrative”. The question, Bates concludes, is which is worse: the matter of overgraded diamonds, or the agressive tactics of lawyers targeting small retailers before they even sue them.