Drew Brees Vs. Vahid Moradi and C. J. Charles, My Personal Experience…A Year Later!
I have to be honest and say that I am not a great football fan, but I remember opening my email one Saturday night in early January 2019 to find an email from Drew Brees Attorney’s office wanting to discuss the lawsuit with me. I knew I recognised the name Drew Brees but just could not pin point it. After googling Drew Brees, I realised I have read about the lawsuit quite a few months earlier on the internet, and feeling bad for another person being misled on diamond investments.
I replied to Rebecca Riley, Drew Brees’s Attorney, that I can make myself available during the following week. Within an hour or so, she had replied back and we scheduled our first call. It was quite interesting, as I have heard many complaints about similar situations, except this time, the person (Drew Brees) had the means to actually pursue it in court.
I will be discussing my personal experience from the trial. I am not discussing the trial itself or any evidence. For those that are interested, the details fo the trial can be found on the San Diego Superior Court website (fees will apply). The only details that I will discuss at the end is the verdict, and my personal opinion of the outcome.
I was hired by Rebecca Riley and Andrew Kim by mid February or so and started working on the case as the Expert Witness on Drew Brees’s side for Fancy Color Diamond, the epicentre of the Lawsuit. They provided me with material to review, not only the diamonds acquired but the full case and all related material of other individuals involved, from employees of C.J. Charles and their depositions, to those of Drew Brees and his wife Britanny, and their other advisors.
The file was very big and with a lot of details about each piece of jewelry, as well as details of each deposition made in the previous months prior to my engagement. We also had many calls to discuss details of items. We discussed the misleading information that Drew Brees got from Vahid Moradi.
It took me almost 4 months to review the case, file by file. My deposition was going to take place early May 2019, and I was due to fly to Los Angeles, where I would be deposed at Vahid Moradi Attorney’s Office. We were ready for a full day deposition as allowed by Law in California. We were told that my deposition will actually take only 4 hours (as requested by Moradi’s attorneys). It ended up being an extra 2 hours or so, but we took that into account. At the end of the deposition, I got on a flight back home and stopped in New York for a day of meetings.
I was quite nervous during the deposition. Just imagine, sitting across a lawyer, which I do not know, along with him was the accused, Vahid Moradi (who was sitting in on each deposition done for any individual on the case, including his employees and all those who were deposed in the case). There was the court stenographer who took notes and swore me in, as well as a camera man that was doing the video ( so a camera in front of me as well). I must say that I have seen many Hollywood movies of this kind, but it was different in real, this was it!.
I could not imaging sitting in a room across all these people for so many hours, but I had both Kim and Rebecca next to me so that was comforting. As questioning started it was nerve wracking, but every time we took a break (which was about every hour, and that hour just flew by), I was getting more and more comfortable. Kim and Rebecca did a fantastic job guiding me and making me feel comfortable.
The majority of the questions were easy to answer, and at some point because of some private information about my own business, it was off the record, and therefore would go under protective order. By around 4 pm we were informed that the deposition was over and that I was allowed to leave. I went back to the hotel, grabbed my suitcase and headed to the airport.
A few days after my deposition, I was sent my written deposition for review and to ensure that all was correct. I was also informed the the actual trial would commence at the end of the month and that I needed to attend. As we were not sure when I would be going on the stand I was asked to arrive early on and stay longer, just in case. It was not easy as a holiday was coming up, and I would have preferred being home for the holidays and travel after, but that was not an option. I would have had to spend the holidays in San Diego. Rebecca had told me that they would do their best and as we were getting closer to the trial date they would inform me of any changes. Luckily the trial started but Drew and his wife Brittany, along with Vahid Moradi were on the stand longer than expected and so I was informed that it was ok to arrive right after the holidays…my family was thrilled, and so was I.
I remember arriving to San Diego, where the trial took place early Monday morning, and went straight to court, just in case I was asked to get on the stand that morning. I was made aware that things were slower than expected, so I headed to my hotel. I thought that I would be on the stand on Tuesday, but that did not happen either. I was due to leave Thursday evening. I was told that I would be going on the stand Thursday morning or even perhaps start Wednesday afternoon. I was glad I went on the stand late Wednesday afternoon for about an hour or two as that helped me break the ice.
This time it was also quite different. I was called by the court to stand and take an oath. I walked by the jury on my right and onto the stand. As I sat on the witness chair, left to judge Kenneth Medel, I was getting nervous again. Just imagine the scene, taken out of the movies again. The judge to my right, the jury to my left, Drew Brees’s attorneys in front of me, and then Vahid Moradi and his attorneys on the right table, next to Kim and Rebecca. In the back of the room there was Drew’s wife, Brittany’s family members for moral support (Drew had to fly back for summer training camp, as he missed a few days due to his earlier deposition). On Vahid Moradi’s side, his son was there for support as well.
Discrediting Me On The Stand
I was first asked some general questions by Rebecca, and then Vahid’s lawyer asked me some questions. At a certain point, Vahid’s lawyer asked me a question to which I obviously answered truthfully. He then referred to my deposition taken a few weeks earlier and pointed out that my answer was not the same. It was different. What would you have thought if you were the jury? during the deposition I answered one thing, while live in court, my answer was different. The judge called for a break.
I went along with Kim, Rebecca and Drew’s wife, Brittany, for a coffee break outside, and the question kept on coming back to me. I questioned myself, but knew deep down that what I answered in court was the truth. After the break, I went back to my position on the witness stand, and reviewed the deposition papers taken a few weeks earlier. There, I found it! I had signalled Rebecca that I wanted to review my testimony again and needed her to ask me a few questions.
After the judge came back and called the court back in order, Rebecca asked to question me again. We reviewed the question that Vahid’s lawyer asked me and I pointed out my correct answer from the deposition. Vahid’s lawyer was pointing out to an incomplete answer I gave just a few sentences before, while giving a complete answer just a few sentences after. Vahid’s lawyer basically tried to discredit me.
I left the courthouse after being o the stand for a few more hours. That was it for me. I headed back to my hotel, picked up my personal belongings and headed to the airport. A few days later, the jury went into deliberation, and on June 19th, the verdict came out.
Drew Brees sued Vahid Moradi and his store C.J. Charles for Fraud and Breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. Drew Brees sued Vahid Moradi for $9 million. At first, the jury came out and awarded Drew Brees $6,130,767 in damages. By October 14, 2019, that amount ballooned to over $10 million. There was a $2,676,761.20 in lost interest, $166,231.60 in pre-judgment costs, and there was a $1,351,005 in Attorney’s fees. I am not sure what other amounts have been awarded but the Attorneys for Drew Brees are claiming on their website that this lawsuit was the 56th largest jury verdict in California for 2019 and the judgment is in excess of $11 million. By the end of the trial Vahid Moradi started his appeal, but by late December a settlement out of court was reached and it was confidential. I know the attorneys for Drew Brees wanted to make sure Vahid can pay, and took several actions to ensure the financial position of Vahid would secure the verdict.
Once in a while I started reflecting back on the outcome and was wondering what was the settlement. I never asked Kim or Rebecca because I knew it was confidential and they would not say, even though we worked well together and I had given them a lot of information that no other expert in the field gave them. I respect that confidentially.
I know that Drew Brees and his wife Brittany had offered a settlement to Vahid Moradi prior to the trial, as it is discussed in the court lawsuit, preferring to avoid lengthy trial and high costs to both sides. I also know that Drew Brees and his wife are wonderful and are not out there to hurt anybody. They have true belief in higher power. So, knowing that the courts awarded over $11 million to Drew Brees, and knowing from the lawsuit documentation that they tried to settle with Vahid a reasonable settlement of $7 million which would be paid over 7 years, so basically a million a year. I think they ended up settling for $7 million paid in 7 years + the attorney fees of $1.3 million to paid in the 8th year, so the original offer plus lawyer’s fees. It still saves Vahid Moradi a potential $3 million, and repaid over several years to alleviate any pressure from Vahid to pay up front. Perhaps Drew was even nicer and agreed to the original verdict of $6.13 million and attorney fees of $1.3 million which would make about $7.5 million, which is just over what he offered Vahid before the long battle. Maybe he just offered his original offer of $7 million over 7 years. Who knows…?
As I have told both Kim and Rebecca from day one, that this case has a great importance on many fronts, giving precedence to lawsuits on Diamond Investments. Diamond investments should not be taken lightly, and should be done with prudence, both by potential investors as well as diamond dealers and sellers. The words investments should be used with great cautious as it puts the seller with a great moral and fiduciary responsibilities. Diamond Investment should be regulated as any other investment and should be offered by individuals that have both gemological & investment training and know how. There should not be any type of conflict of interest, and a written agreement on compensation should be in place.
If any of you believe that you were taken advantage off in a similar fashion, please feel free to contact me for a full and free review. Should we conclude that you were wronged, I will refer you to the right individuals so that action can be taken.
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