California Insurance Case Plaintiffs Plan Appeal

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Mirror-Spectator Staff

LOS ANGELES — Lawyers representing the descendents of Armenian Genocide victims who never received payment on their life insurance policies planned to appeal a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against them on September 10.

A class-action suit, led by Glendale priest Vazken Movsesian and thousands of other Armenian Americans who seek payments on unpaid life insurance policies bought by Genocide victims won a favorable ruling in 2007 before it was overturned.

Attorney Mark Geragos, one of three Armenian-American lawyers representing the heirs, said the dissenting opinion in the 2-1 August 20 decision, written by Judge Harry Pregerson, would help make their case.

“There is no express federal policy forbidding California from using the term ‘Armenian Genocide’ in the course of exercising its traditional authority to regulate the insurance industry,” Pregerson wrote.

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Just after the ruling was announced last month, attorney Brian Kabateck said the ruling could help secure a special hearing in front of a panel of 20 federal judges known as an “En Banc” hearing.

“In some respects, the absurdity of the decision will be our best friend, because it could get the entire En Blanc case or get the Supreme Court to review it,” Kabateck said. “We’ll fight it anywhere and everywhere we have to.”

Geragos estimated that out of 5,000 requests for an En Banc hearing in US District Courts, perhaps 50 are approved each year. The attorneys will ask for a standard re-hearing in addition to the En Banc request.