Town-Hall to Discuss Implications of 9th Circuit Decision on Genocide Life Insurance Recovery Law

WR logoGLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee Western Region (ANC-WR) Legal Research Task Force, in conjunction with the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Western Region, and the Shant Student Association, will be hosting a public briefing to inform, answer questions, and discuss the implications of the recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision regarding California’s Armenian Genocide Life Insurance recovery law.

The town-hall style community briefing will be held at St. Mary’s Apostolic Church located at 500 S. Central Avenue in Glendale, California 91204, on September 23 at 7:30 p.m. A panel of experts and lawyers committed to appealing the court ruling will be present to address how current developments affect insurance claimants and what options the attorneys for the victims of the Armenian Genocide will explore next.

On August 20, heirs claiming life insurance payments from the Armenian Genocide era were denied the right to sue insurance carriers for their long withheld policy benefits. The law entitling them to seek redress in California courts was struck down by the US Court of Appeals on the grounds of federal preemption. The underlying statute, California Code of Civil Procedure Section 345.5, allows claims to be filed against the insurers who have withheld policy proceeds from the heirs of Genocide victims since 1915.

Panelists leading the discussion include Mark Geragos, one of three attorneys representing the genocide victims’ heirs, ANCA National Board Member Seto Boyadjian, and attorney and community activist Steve Dadaian. The discussion will be moderated by Harut Sassounian, the publisher of the California Courier.

“Many Armenian Americans have been directly impacted by the 9th Circuit’s decision,” said Raffi Kassabian, ANC-WR activist. “The Court’s ruling strikes at the very core of the Diaspora’s efforts for proper genocide recognition and recovery of insurance policy proceeds. It is imperative that the community be further briefed on the implications of the Court’s ruling.”

The event organizers are expecting a large audience for the briefing.

“The future of this statute, and others like it, is significant for Armenian Genocide victims and their descendants,” stated Vache Thomassian, AYF Western Region Chairman. “Thus far, it is the only procedure established for the Armenian Genocide victims to recover these long and wrongfully withheld assets. The Court’s ruling will have a detrimental effect on Armenian American California residents and will set an erroneous precedent for future similar insurance claims.”

For more information on this event, please contact the ANC-WR office at (818) 500-1918 or


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