Plaintiffs Oppose NY Life’s Tentative Settlement

Attorney Vartkes Yeghiayan Provides Clarifications

LOS ANGELES–New York Life Insurance Company–in a press release issued on April 11–announced an agreement in principle was reached with the Law offices of Quisenberry & Kabateck–in the class-action lawsuit on behalf of the heirs of the Armenian Genocide for unpaid life insurance benefits against New York Life.

According to the press release–New York Life has agreed to contribute a minimum of $7 million to the heirs of policyholders–along with $3 million to go to Armenian civic organizations.

The class-action lawsuit–which was initiated by attorney Vartkes Yeghiayan–was filed in November 1999–in a California federal court.

Asbarez covered the development in its April 13 issue; however–an assessment could not be made since Yeghiayan was out of the country. John Kossakian–executive editor of Asbarez Daily News and Horizon Television–interviewed Yeghiayan on April 22. Vartkes Yeghiayan confirmed that representatives of New York Life had agreed to contribute $10 million–$7 million to the heirs of policyholders–and $3 million to organizations.

According to Yeghiayan–this offer was regarded as an agreement in principle–which should have been presented to the clients at the outset. Yeghiayan also stated that issues related to limits on the amount being offered–the exact number of heirs–the individuals tasked with disbursing the compensation and the manner in which this is to be implemented–as well as deciding which organizations will receive payment–are yet to be decided–and that no documen’s exist at present.

A document is in the process of being composed–and it will take several months before all issues are resolved. A final decision will be taken by the court.

It should be noted that after Yeghiayan’s interview–the Los Angeles Times–in its April 27 issue–featured an in-depth article on the case–where Yeghiayan says his clients were "very disturbed" that a public announcement of a tentative settlement was made before informing them of the deal. Yeghiayan has brought in another attorney–Mark Geragos–to replace the former lawyers.

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