GLENDALE -- A lawsuit with the potential to award millions of dollars
to heirs of Armenian life insurance policy holders is set to move
The suit, in which La Canada Flintridge resident Martin Marootian is
the lead plaintiff, has filtered through the the U.S. District Court
system since it was filed in 1999. Earlier this week, a judge ruled in
favor of the plaintiffs, who are suing New York Life Insurance for
payment of policies taken out by family members who died during the
The insurance company had asked that the case be dismissed, claiming
California was not a legal venue for the suit to be filed. A judge
disagreed and ordered the case to continue. A new hearing date had not
been set by Friday afternoon.
A tentative $10-million settlement was reached in April but after
review, the plaintiffs and their attorneys said they decided the amount
was not enough to cover the possible claims of other families.
"In Glendale, you might be talking about 5,000 heirs," said Mark
Geragos, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs.
Attorneys in the case have likened the struggle to that of Jewish
families battling with insurance companies to cover policies taken out by
relatives who were killed in the Holocaust. The Armenian Genocide
occurred a few decades before the start of the Jewish Holocaust -- around
1915, compared to about 1933.
"New York Life has run, but they can't hide," Geragos said.
Representatives from New York Life Insurance could not be reached for