LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A bench trial before the Hon. John A. Kronstadt to determine ownership of the Bahia Emerald will begin on Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 9:30 AM at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA. Judge Kronstadt will probably first rule on Anthony Thomas’ action to claim ownership of the Bahia Emerald, and probably decide how to move forward on a separate claim made by Mark Downie. The trial will then proceed with opening statements in the case and is expected to last two to five days. Ken Conetto By Eric Kitchen His Attorney In Fact (Petitioner) vs. Kit Morrison and Todd Armstrong (Respondents); Mark Downie (Intervenors) vs. Eric Kitchen et al., Kit Morrison and Todd Armstrong (Respondents), Case No. BS118649.
Browne Greene with the Santa Monica, CA. law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler (www.greene-broillet.com) and Daniel K. Balaban and Andrew J. Spielberger with the Santa Monica, CA. law firm of Balaban & Spielberger (www.balaban-spielberger.com) represent Respondents Kit Morrison, Todd Armstrong, Jerry Ferrara, FM Holdings, Inc. and Market Link, Inc. At 840 pounds, the Bahia Emerald is said to be the world’s largest raw emerald. Until the case is resolved, the Bahia Emerald will remain in custody with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
In 2001, the Bahia Emerald was discovered in Brazil and was registered with the Brazilian Government by owner Renata Joias e Embalagens Ltda. On August 31, 2004, an Assignment & Bill of Sale was made from Renata Joias e Embalagens Ltda. to Gemworks Mining, Inc. (Panama). Three years later on August 22, 2007, there was an assignment of the Bahia Emerald from Gemworks Mining, Inc. (Panama) to B & B Services, Inc.
In 2008, Respondents Kit Morrison, Todd Armstrong, Jerry Ferrara and their companies Market Link, Inc. and FM Holdings, Inc. obtained valid legal title to the Bahia Emerald. They also allege that they have an equitable claim to title as bona fide purchasers of the Bahia Emerald based on their seven-figure payment for the Bahia Emerald.
“As such,” explained Browne Greene, “my clients who are the Respondents in this dispute are not only the appropriate owners, having been conveyed the emerald through a valid chain of legal title, they are also bona fide good faith purchasers under the law. We have every confidence that the legal process will get to the bottom of this quagmire and that my clients will be held to be the rightful owners of the Bahia Emerald.”
Respondents Kit Morrison, Todd Armstrong, Jerry Ferrara, FM Holdings, Inc. and Market Link, Inc. are represented by Browne Greene with the Santa Monica, CA. law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler (www.greene-broillet.com) and Daniel K. Balaban and Andrew J. Spielberger with the Santa Monica, CA. law firm of Balaban & Spielberger (www.balaban-spielberger.com); Tel: 310.576.1200.
Kenneth Conetto is represented by Eric C. Kitchen of Santa Barbara, CA; Tel: 805.966.5101.
Anthony Thomas and Wendi Thomas are represented by Randy M. Hess with Adleson Hess & Kelly of Campbell, CA; Tel: 408.341.0243.
Mark Downie is represented by Steven H. Haney with Haney, Buchanan & Patterson of Los Angeles, CA.; Tel: 213.228.6500.
Dave Fisher is represented by William Frazer with the Torrance, CA. Law Offices of Steven R. Bangerter; Tel: 424.247-1136; and Darwin Fisher of St. George, UT; Tel: 435.688.1170.
Forrest Wayne Catett and Gemworks Mining Inc. (Panama) are represented by Jerry Kaplan with Kaplan Kenegos & Kadin of Beverly Hills, CA; Tel: 310.859.7700.