New Calif. Law Seeks Resolution for Armenian Genocide Victims, Heirs

September 27, 2000

California Gov. Gray Davis recently signed legislation that will permit Armernian genocide victims and their heirs to file suits in California against insurers for unpaid policies purchased by people or companies in Europe or Asia between 1897 and 1923.

SB 1915, authored by state Sen. Chuck Poochigian (R-Fresno), applies to individuals who were victims of the Armenian genocide of 1915 to 1923, during which time approximately 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives at the hands of Turks. The new law also provides for an extension of the statute of limitations to 2010 on legal claims brought by an Armenian genocide victim or heir.

An original provision of the bill requiring insurers to create a list of Armenian clients and their policies for the specified period was dropped in light of the court entanglements a similar law created for individuals seeking resolution of Holocaust-era insurance policies.

The Los Angeles Times also reported that the legislation could help strengthen a class-action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles against New York Life. In that suit, 45 plaintiffs are seeking restitution of approximately $3 billion for 7,671 policies issued between 1895 and 1915.

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