AXA Inter-Attorney Squabble

Garen Yegparian

BY GAREN YEGPARIAN

On Monday, August 8, a hearing took place in Federal Judge Christina A. Snyder’s court in downtown Los Angeles. It was part of the lawsuit that has pitted against one another attorneys who once jointly fought the French insurance company, AXA, to secure payment to the heirs of Genocide victims who had bought life insurance policies from that company.

This session, postponed from three weeks prior, witnessed the litigating sides agreeing on some points.  Meetings had been held between the two sides (Mark Geragos/Brian Kabateck vs. Vartkes Yeghiayan).  Geragos and Kabateck spoke for themselves while Yeghiayan was represented by another attorney, Roman Silberfeld.  They requested, and received, from the judge, more time to continue their efforts to resolve their differences.  Judge Snyder put off until after October 3, the implementation of subpoenas and discovery. 

The sides also agreed that important information was held by Parsegh Kartalian, the administrator who ran the distribution of the millions of dollars that AXA was required to pay to the rightful recipients of the insurance policies’ payouts.  They had not yet been able to meet with Kartalian, and requested the court act on this, if necessary subpoenaing him.  Silberfeld went into the greatest details, citing numerous cases in which claimants had received multiple checks.  One had gotten twelve.  Some of these checks remain uncashed to date.  The amounts paid out varied wildly from a little over $100 to over $200,000.  These and other questions are what Kartalian is expected to provide answers  and clarification for.

Also present was an attorney, Boyd, representing the Settlement Board (SB) that was established to oversee the whole process.  Her presence in court was apparently something new.  She stated that the SB also needed more information and was waiting for documentation from Kartalian.

Geragos remarked negatively about the participation of the SB in the proceedings.  Judge Snyder commented that the SB did not have as much authority as it seemed to think it had, and Kartalian must answer to the court, not the SB.  She also remarked that the SB’s participation had been “fomented” by people present in the courtroom “who shall remain nameless”.  The judge was clearly annoyed, saying also that she was aware “alliances had been formed” and that it “will stop right now”.  The degree to which Snyder was incensed became evident when said they had set out to do something important for the community, and instead were confronted by “something very unseemly”, presumably referring to the current state of litigious affairs.

Judge Snyder also displayed concern over the use of funds from the AXA settlement.  In the interest of not wasting funds, she said she did not want to appoint a receiver and later denied, without prejudice, the Yeghiayan side’s motion for a special master.

The next hearing was scheduled for September 26.

In the interest of full disclosure, my family is an AXA claimant.  The claim was denied.  No explanation was given.

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7 Comments

  1. Sarkis said:

    Regardless of any details, I say shame on you all involved.This is why most attornies are disliked, and it hurts more to me as armenian, that these are armanian attornies,stealing, infighting,arguing.Shame

  2. Sylvie Tertzakian said:

    what a shame! the genocide has been the unifying factor for the diaspora. a fight over the funds to the victims’ families??? Amot e… Who designated, nominated, or elected parsegh kartalian to be in charge of the distribution of the funds? and,in what capacity?

  3. Norin Radd said:

    Whether one is a claimant or not, all you have to be is Armenian and reading this fills you with disgust with the way it has been handled and made into a spectacle in public court.

    Sra hamar e vor menk hyeres yerpek voch mi dex chenk hasnoom, mi hat settlement en haxter yev arten irar xapoom en. Irok amot bolorit.

    Although this is an Armenian issue in general, I cannot help but express that this whole fiasco makes the arevmetahye communities and the greater Armenian people look horrendously greedy and money-grubbing. The example this type of behavior sets for the Hayastanzti and Parskahye community is not a great one. A good number of Hayastanztis and Parskahyes participate in issues involving the Armenian Genocide while not having had direct descendants that were victims of the AG, the Lebanese Armenian and Syrian Armenian communities at large should have set a much better example of this matter and handled it with the respect and grace it deserved.

    Right now, everyone involved in this debacle looks like nothing more than a materialistic starving wolf or a snake in the grass at the very least. Shame on them.

  4. Robert said:

    We’ll wait until all of this is completed. Then it’ll be our turn to sue Armenians in every court on the planet! That ought to tie up the courts for years, but will eventually restore to Turkey her honor which is constantly and falsely being defamed and slandered by the ARF dashnak Armenians! God will even the score!!!

  5. alice atamian said:

    My family is claiming for justice in this case. Yes gue qdnem ais hartse amotalì. Medz mors anun¨- maganun, iergrort maganun tsanguin mech é. Inch gue sbasén harquelú irents badasjanadvutiune.
    alice

  6. Ara said:

    Does anybody know how to contact the Armenian Insurance Settlement Fund and/or its Board?
    The Fund’s websites are blank and the phone number is no longer in service.
    The California legislature has enacted a bill extending the expiration date for submitting claims
    to 2016.
    In spite of that, should one assume that the whole process has folded and no more claims are
    being processed?

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