Tuesday, 22 May

Armenian Bar Association Petitions the United States Supreme Court in Genocide Recovery Lawsuit

The Armenian Bar Association has prepared and filed written legal arguments with the United States Supreme Court in an effort to reverse an appellate court decision in Movsesian v. Versicherung AG, which nullified a California statute allowing for the pursuit of Genocide-related life insurance recoveries. Earlier this year in the Movsesian case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a California law which extended the statute of limitations for Genocide-era life insurance claims on the grounds that the United States' alleged position of non-recognition trumped California's efforts to allow for the legal redress of these insurance claims. The Armenian Bar Association urged the Supreme Court to reconsider the errant appellate decision and to allow for the enforcement of the California insurance-oriented law which pertains to an area of fundamental state sovereignty.

Joining the Armenian Bar Association on its amicus brief, which was written and assembled on a pro bono basis by a team of lawyers from the law firm of Bingham McCutchen and helmed by the Armenian Bar’s founding Chairman--the renowned David Balabanian--are the esteemed Attorneys General of the States of California, Michigan, Nevada, Rhode Island and several federal and state legislators.

Edvin Minassian, the two-term immediate past Chairman of the Armenian Bar Association, is owed a huge debt of gratitude for his wise counsel and active participation in the joint effortS to serve and protect the legal interests of the Armenian community, this time all the way to the steps and through the doors of the country's ultimate and final tribunal. With Mr. Minassian’s sharp focus and commitment and with the compelling advocacy of Mr. Balabanian, the Armenian Bar Association has, for the first time, weighed in with the Supreme Court asking that it uphold the rights of the Armenian Genocide's victims and their heirs.

Due to the leadership of our former Chairmen Edvin Minassian and David Balabanian, our resolve is clearly at an all time high. Claims for unpaid life insurance policies dating back to the Armenian Genocide were first brought by plaintiffs' attorney Vartkes Yeghiayan, a Lifetime Honorary Member of the Armenian Bar Association. Attorneys who have also been representing plaintiffs include Armenian Bar members Mark Geragos and Brian Kabateck, and Lee Crawford Boyd. Igor Timofeyev of the law firm of Paul Hastings filed the original appeal on behalf of plaintiffs, urging the high court to overturn the Ninth Circuit's en banc ruling.

Also lending support to the Supreme Court petition are our partners, the ANCA, the Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation, Inc., Genocide Education Project, Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action, the Center for the Study of Law & Genocide, and the International Human Rights Clinic of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. The ANCA, through the crucial efforts of its Legislative Director Kate Nahabetian, also an ArmenBar member, played a
critical role in securing the on-the-record support of the aforementioned States Attorneys General.

Armenian Bar Association

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Comments (2)
1. Robert21:10 - 22 August, 2012
With records destroyed how can one prove whats what? My grandmother would tell me stories about the family exporting produce buisness and having 500 employees and lots of land and when I would ask her how many acres of land, she would say I don't understand acres, but three days on horse back to go across the lands, three days, I'm thinking that must be 100's of thousands of acres of land???
2. Genya Saribekyan03:35 - 28 August, 2012
I would, for the sake of brevity, like to address several inaccuracies found in the Armenian Bar Association's press release, published here and now in other newspapers. What the bar association has actually filed is an amicus brief, which is a brief filed as a friend of the court, and not at its behest. The chances that any of the Supreme Court justices will personally read the brief are slim to none (maybe a lowly clerk will read it). Nor was the cert filed by Movsesian's lawyers. The bulk of that work was done in preparing it was in fact carried out by lawyers Igor Timofiyev (in Washington D.C.), Lee Boyd, and Vartkes Yeghiayan, and filed on June 22 of this year. The true heroes in all this are, of course, plaintiffs Arzoumanian and the others. It would do us all well if these facts are borne in mind by readers, newspaper editors, and the Armenian Bar Association alike.
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