(CN) – A Michigan woman has enough evidence to pursue a lawsuit against the jeweler she says pocketed her pink diamond, the 6th Circuit ruled.
Victoria Harris filed the lawsuit pro se against J.B. Robinson Jewelers, which she says replaced her 2.35 carat diamond with a “smaller, colorless stone” when she took her wedding ring in for resizing eight years ago.
A Michigan federal judge dismissed Harris’ claim, which the court said lacked any admissible evidence, but the Cincinnati-based appeals court revived the case in a majority opinion.
Writing for the majority, Judge Richard Griffin said “that the district court erred in its ruling because plaintiff submitted admissible documentary evidence creating a genuine issue of material fact.”
Harris relied on three witnesses whose testimonies were excluded from district court proceedings. The three “swore, based upon personal knowledge, that Harris’s original center diamond was pink in color,” the ruling states.
The appeals court reversed the federal ruling since withheld testimonies constitute admissible evidence supporting the claim of diamond replacement.
Judge Ralph Guy Jr., who wrote a dissenting opinion, called Harris’ claim is “nothing short of preposterous.”
“An examination of the record taken as a whole demonstrates that no rational juror could make such a finding [for Harris],” Guy wrote. “Although some leeway is given to pro se pleadings, the rambling lengthy narrative filed by plaintiff is long on emotion but short on plausibility.”
Harris claimed her husband bought the ring from J.B. Robinson, located in Saginaw, Mich., for $395 in 1973. No written information regarding the size, quality or color of the stones was provided by the jeweler at the time of purchase, she said.
After twice refusing to take the resized ring home, citing inferior stones, Harris filed a police report alleging that her “fancy” diamond had been stolen.
“It was not the same color. It was not the same size. It was nothing like the one I took into the store that I had for 29 years,” Harris testified, according to deposition that the appeal court quoted.
The jeweler had a certified gem appraised testify that the current stone – a colorless, .29 carat diamond – mounted in Harris’ ring is likely the original. Calling Harris’ claim “self-serving,” Robinson argued it should not be considered by the court.
Harris claims that the missing diamond is valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, “between $440,000 and $800,000 per carat,” according to her complaint.