LOS ANGELES — A federal court ruled this week that Armenian Americans can’t seek claims from foreign insurance companies who never paid the policies of Armenian Genocide victims, citing the lack of recognition of the Genocide by the US government.
A Glendale priest, Vazken Movsesian of St. Peter Armenian Church, and thousands of other Armenian Americans, descendents of some 1.5 million Armenian victims of the Genocide had won a favorable ruling in 2007. US District Judge Christina A. Snyder had decided that a California law gave the descendants the right to sue three German insurance companies that had been selling policies to Armenians in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire.
In a 2-1 ruling, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision on August 20, saying the law undermined federal policy and could not take precedence over the lack of the US government’s recognition of the Genocide.
The legal team for the survivors’ descendents, which includes attorney Mark Geragos, Brian Kabateck and Vartkes Yeghiayan, plans to ask for a hearing by a larger panel of federal judges — an En Blanc Hearing — within 10 days.