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Attorney Andrew Spielberger Responds to Ownership Ruling in the Fight Over Giant Emerald

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today a Superior Court Judge, once again, rejected the claim by Anthony Thomas that he is the rightful owner of world's largest, uncut emerald, known as the "Bahia Emerald." In 2010 the Honorable John A. Kronstadt also rejected Mr. Thomas' claim of the emerald ownership. However that trial ended in a mistrial.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140129/LA55723)

Today, after hearing nearly 30 witnesses and reviewing approximately 150 exhibits during 20 days of trial, the Honorable Michael Johnson, released a 35-page decision, rejecting Thomas' argument that he was the owner of the emerald repeatedly calling his testimony "unpersuasive" and "not credible."

"This is the second time that we have had to try Mr. Thomas' claim and both judges have come to the same conclusion: that Mr. Thomas' story is not credible," said Andrew Spielberger, an attorney for the respondents. "This is a milestone moment in the litigation bringing us much closer to final resolution," added Spielberger.

Today's ruling leaves Kit Morrison, Todd Armstrong, Jerry Ferrara, Market Link, Inc. and FM Holdings, Inc. (The Morrison Group) as one of the two active claimants for ownership of the Bahia Emerald. Mark Downie is the other active claimant. (Prior claimants Kenneth Conetto and Wayne Catlett previously settled their claims with The Morrison Group.)

A status conference has been set for March 19, 2014 to determine the next step in the litigation.

In 2001, Renata Joias e Embalagens Ltda. discovered the Bahia Emerald in Brazil and registered it with the Brazilian Government. 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 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. paid 7-figures to obtain valid legal title to the Bahia Emerald. Then the emerald was confiscated and a dispute ensued.

Considering it potentially stolen property, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department seized the massive gemstone in 2008 weighing in at 840 pounds and worth an estimated $372 million. The emerald will remain in custody until the case is resolved.

Browne Greene of Greene Broillet & Wheeler and Daniel K. Balaban and Andrew J. Spielberger with the law firm of Balaban & Spielberger represent Respondents Kit Morrison, Todd Armstrong, Jerry Ferrara, FM Holdings, Inc. and Market Link, Inc.

SOURCE Attorney Andrew Spielberger

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