Supreme Court Invites Solicitor General to Offer US Government Position on Genocide-Era Life Insurance Case

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court today asked the Solicitor General to file a brief detailing the U.S. government position on the Ninth Circuit Court decision earlier this year that struck down a California law that allowed Armenian-Americans to pursue genocide-era life insurance claims, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The Supreme Court building

“The ANCA welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision today to ask the Solicitor General to offer the U.S. government’s position on Armenian Genocide-era insurance claims,” said ANCA Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian. “The right to seek redress from insurance companies and banks which have improperly profited from the genocide-era murders of their parents and grandparents should be absolute. We look to the Solicitor General to ensure that American moral values and property rights are not trumped by foreign—in this case, Turkish government—intervention.”

The U.S. Solicitor General will have several months to review and file its brief regarding the Ninth Circuit Court decision, after which the Supreme Court will decide whether or not to hear the case.

The Supreme Court’s decision is the latest in a long and complex legal history that has included three separate and conflicting opinions from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the most recent on Feb. 23, 2012. That decision struck down a California law extending the statute of limitations for certain life insurance claims based on an unprecedented expansion of the rarely invoked doctrine of foreign affairs field preemption. In its ruling, the Ninth Circuit invalidated the California statute because Turkey opposes references to the Armenian Genocide and the use of the term.

Plaintiffs’ petition to the Supreme Court to hear the case was filed by Igor Timofeyev of Paul Hastings, LLP. A series of amicus briefs were filed in support of the plaintiff’s petition including a filing by the Attorneys General from the States of California, Michigan, Nevada, and Rhode Island and another by U.S. Federal and State legislators, filed by attorneys Mary-Christine Sungaila and Seepan Parseghian at the firm of Snell and Willmer, LLP.

Human rights and public policy groups, including the Armenian Bar Association and ANCA, also filed an amicus brief and were represented pro-bono by Bingham McCutchen, LLP, led by partner David Balabanian.

The complete set of filings can be viewed at:

Claims for unpaid life insurance policies dating back to the Armenian Genocide were first brought by plaintiff’s attorney Vartkes Yeghiayan. Attorneys who have been representing plaintiffs include Mark Geragos, Brian Kabateck, and Lee Crawford Boyd.


  1. About time Armenians formed a powerful international legal team, in collaboration with a revitalised Armenian government/foreign policy, to prosecute the Turkish government in international courts/tribunals for the crime and its consistent and persistent denial and for appropriate redress.

  2. bagratuni, international courts/tribunals are headed by people who cannot disassociate themselves from the policy dictates of their respective countries. There is no such thing as impartial judiciary, especially in a highly politicized institution such as the ICJ. Regardless of the truth “justice” can be evaded quite easily from the hands of those who would run the show. And make no mistake, it would be a show!

  3. We still haven’t seen such a brave legal Armenian team to prosecute the Turkish government. This clearly shows how Armenians are coward!!

    • Please, this coming from a guy who’s country was founded upon the mass murder, theft, rape, drowning and burning of unarmed innocent men, women and children.. Your people should be proud of their “bravery.” BTW, any town that had armed Armenians the Turks stayed away for the most part. Even your cousins the azeri’s ran like girls in the end..

      Lets be clear: Turks are “brave” when their opponent is unarmed and defenseless.. Tell me, am i insulting turkishness now? Your people are the cowards and surly have low self-esteem..

    • Cowards were those who raped, tortured, murdered, and marched to death unarmed civilians–children, elderly, women.

      Cowards are those who to this day do not have the courage to accept the truth about their own bloody history and continue enjoying the wealth of those whom their grandfathers murdered.

      Actually, these are not merely cowards. These are coward criminals.

    • And how could I forget those who axe murder people in their sleep? Oh, but wait! This would be a “hero” by Azeri/Turkish standards.

      Next time, before you open your big mouth to insult us, remember that you live in the most fragile glass-house. So be careful with throwing stones.

  4. Unfortunately politics trumps legalities and laws.. Also with the Supreme Court basically being run by right wing neo-cons I highly doubt they will side with the victims against an insurance company let alone go counter to the US State Department and their beloved Turks…

  5. The Ninth Circuit invalidated the California statute because Turkey opposes references to the Armenian Genocide and the use of the term.

    This whole thing is about this sentence above: Turkey opposes references to the Armenian Genocide and the use of the term.. Once this sentence is removed the plaintiffs can go forward with their suit.

    While the US government does not recognize the Armenian Genocide, the State of California does and that is where this suit is filed. What’s the problem? The suit is against insurance companies not Turkey.

  6. It may sound out of place,but let me remind all that two,not one such a Cases were won by Vartkes Yeghjiayan attorney,against AXA ,French and NY Life US Insurance companies not very long ago.Does this not establish precedent…
    Also ,in the making is one such a Lawsuite versus Deutche German Bank by said attorney.

  7. Johnny, Johnny, Johnny…. ,John the Turk: what are we gonna do with you ?

    So you think Armenians are cowards ?
    I doubt it, but let us see about Turks first, who are allegedly really tough and fearless.
    How tough and fearless ? Incredibly tough and fearless as the examples below prove:

    When Syria shot down an invading Turkish F-4, Turks ran like frightened little boys to big Christian daddy NATO for help. They called for Article 4 meeting, and started throwing out references to Article 5. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was compelled to publicly announce several times that NATO would protect Turkey.
    Imagine that: fearless Turks scared stiff of weak little Syria, whose Army btw is quite busy suppressing a massive insurrection.

    When Israeli naval commandos slaughtered 9 Turk civilians on a Turkish ship in international waters, fearless PM Erdogan threatened to send the Turkish Navy to escort another aid convoy. He promised to be on one of the Navy ships. Any day now.
    (somebody must have told him that unlike Armenian women and children his ancestors murdered, Israelis shoot back if you try to kill them).

    {“In the face of the enemy certain commanders leave their units and flee. … Two [PKK] guys can appear and scare away 30 soldiers. This is a scandal. One soldier opens fire after seeing a shadow; others start firing at random and shoot one of our own in the forehead. Our situation is shameful.”}
    Tape recording of former Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner complaining about fearless TSK.

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