Associated Press, Los Angeles, CA, Friday, February 20, 2004
LOS ANGELES - A judge approved a $20 million settlement in a class action
lawsuit between New York Life Insurance Co. and the descendants of Armenians
killed nearly 90 years ago in the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder on Thursday granted preliminary
approval of the settlement for unpaid death benefits. About $11 million will
be set aside for potential claims by heirs of some 2,400 policyholders, $3
million will go to nine Armenian charitable organizations and the rest will
pay attorneys' fees and administrative costs.
Snyder set a July 30 court date to hear any objections from plaintiffs, who
may opt out of the settlement. After that date, a Web site will be available
for those seeking money from New York Life for unpaid policies. The company
also will advertise in major newspapers alerting people to the settlement,
said the plaintiffs' attorney, Brian Kabateck.
Armenians have asserted that 1.5 million people were executed between 1915
and 1923 by Turkish authorities who accused them of helping the invading
Russian army during World War I.
Turkey rejected the genocide claim and said Armenians were killed in civil
unrest during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. France and Russia are
among 15 countries that have recognized the genocide. The United States has
not made such a declaration.
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