Bill extends claim deadline for families of Armenian genocide victims

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed legislation that extends the deadline in California for victims of the Armenian genocide and their descendents to file claims on unpaid policies from European and Asian insurers.

The measure, which extends the deadline through Dec. 31, 2016, was introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake).

“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work by me and my staff,” Gatto said. “It’s nice to see this come to fruition.”

Gatto went into the community to get input before introducing the bill. “[Residents] saw this as an important tool for seeking justice for the wrongs committed by the Ottoman Turks.”

The atrocity, which took place from 1915 to 1923, left more than 1.5 million Armenians dead.

The extension was needed because victims and their heirs have been able to file suit in California courts for only 10 years, Gatto said. Some of the suits were challenged in federal court, keeping new suits from progressing.

“Very few people have been able to take advantage of the ability to file suit in California, so far,” Gatto said.

Mark Kellam

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