Security Firm Accused of Losing $15M Jewelry

     (CN) — A Swiss jewelry company claims in court that a private security firm lost $15 million worth of jewelry that was supposed to be flaunted at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
     According to a lawsuit filed Monday in New York County Supreme Court, Chopard USA Ltd. hired Ferrari Express to securely transport 53 pieces of high-end jewelry to be worn by an unnamed celebrity on the red carpet, but Ferrari never returned the goods.
     Instead of securing the jewelry in a vault at Ferrari’s office, the lawsuit alleges that Ferrari’s staff left the package of jewelry, which was marked “high value,” in a company van parked on the street near an employee’s house.
     The van was stolen overnight and Chopard’s jewelry was never recovered or returned, the company says.
     The lawsuit noted that the van was parked in “a neighborhood in which vehicle thefts are common.” Ferrari’s employee also allegedly failed to report there was valuable jewelry in the van during an initial police report, which compromised the police’s ability to recover the jewelry.
     The van was reportedly found two days later, without the package of Chopard’s jewelry.
     Monday’s lawsuit repeatedly valued the 53 “one-of-a-kind pieces of high value” jewelry at approximately $15 million.
     Chopard had hired Ferrari to pick up the jewelry from its boutique in Manhattan’s Upper East Side and deliver it to the Montage Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif., for viewings and fittings several days before the 2016 Grammy Awards, which was held at the Staples Center.
     In its lawsuit, Chopard claims that celebrities’ use of their jewelry at high-profile events like the Grammy Awards generates “enhanced brand awareness” and increased sales.
     The complaint accuses Ferrari of negligence and breach of contract. Chopard seeks at least $15 million for “the replacement cost of the jewelry, customs duties and other expenditures associated with the Ferrari’s loss of the jewelry, mitigation costs and out-of-pocket expenses, lost profits, increased insurance premiums, and loss of valuable publicity.”
     Chopard USA Ltd. is a New York-based subsidiary of Swiss jewelry company Le Petit Fils de L.-U Chopard & Cie S.A, which is also named as a plaintiff in the complaint.
     Chopard was reportedly the victim of an inside job at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013, when $1.4 million worth of jewelry was robbed from a hotel safe. The jewelry was also intended to be loaned out to celebrities for red carpet exposure.
     Ferrari Express’ website mentions that the secure transporter company offers “tailor-made insurance policies that include ‘all risks’ and ‘door to door’ protection against any loss at any stage of the transportation [or] storage 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.”
     Representatives from Ferrari Express were reached for comment Tuesday but did not respond by press time.
     Chopard is represented by John Zulack of Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer LLP in New York City.

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