News

Jury returns diamond to insurer who paid for loss

Hanover Insurance Company a/s/o Louis Glick & Company v. David Andrew Krivine and Ofer Mimouni, Supreme Court New York County, August 11, 2010

Following a seven-day trial, a jury returned a verdict in favor of AGF&J client Hanover Insurance Company, awarding it ownership of a diamond that had been reported lost by a policy holder. The verdict permitted the insurer to recover the actual diamond, which was a paid loss under a policy of jeweler’s block insurance.

The gem, a 10.65 carat Fancy Intense Yellow VVS2 diamond (named the “Glick Diamond”), disappeared in 2001 from the offices of a New York jeweler within the Diamond District of New York City. The jeweler carried jeweler’s block insurance, and presented a claim for loss of the Glick diamond to Hanover Insurance Company, who paid the claim. Prior to its disappearance, the Glick diamond had been analyzed and measured by the Gemological Institute of America (“GIA”). Those results, which included information about the diamond’s cut, weight, and both the internal characteristics and external flaws of the stone, were stored by GIA in its database. The missing stone was reported to GIA and the loss was noted in GIA’s database.

Four years later, in 2005, a 10.59 carat Fancy Intense Yellow VVS2 diamond was presented to GIA for certification of its qualities. GIA performed an analysis of the diamond, measuring and assessing its cut, clarity, weight and color. GIA then made a routine comparison of that stone’s measurements with those in its database, which revealed that this diamond had many similarities to the missing Glick diamond. GIA commenced an interpleader action, naming the parties with an apparent claim to the diamond as the defendants, and, in effect, asking them and the Court to determine what should be done while GIA retained temporary possession of the diamond.

At trial, AGF&J member Steven DiSiervi and associate Gabrielle Puchalsky led the jury through the overwhelming evidence that the Glick Diamond and the subsequent diamond were, in fact, the same. They introduced testimony strongly suggesting that, in 2001, the Glick Diamond had been taken by a relative of a person who presently claimed to own the diamond. Defense witnesses presented an alternative story, in which the diamond was purchased from a Florida diamond dealer and brought back to New York. The defense also represented expert testimony that the Glick Diamond and the diamond subsequently submitted to GIA were not the same as they varied in size and weight.

AGF&J also presented expert testimony that the Glick Diamond and the diamond subsequently submitted to GIA contained unique internal characteristics and external flaws, the diamond’s “fingerprint.” AGF&J’s expert stated that when you compared the “fingerprint” of the Glick Diamond and the “fingerprint” of the diamond subsequently submitted to GIA, they were identical. AGF&J opined that the Glick Diamond and the diamond subsequently submitted to GIA were the same diamond.

After deliberating for one hour, the six person jury returned a unanimous verdict, finding that the diamond that had been submitted to GIA in 2005 was the same as the Glick Diamond lost in 2001. AGF&J is now assisting Hanover with the disposition of the diamond.