BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
On Monday, December 5, another hearing took place in Federal Judge Christina A. Snyder’s court in downtown Los Angeles. It has two weeks since the last one in the ongoing lawsuit that has pitted against one another attorneys (Mark Geragos/Brian Kabateck vs. Vartkes Yeghiayan) who once jointly fought the French insurance company AXA to secure payment to the heirs of genocide victims who had bought life insurance policies from that company. This time, the sides were more amicable, and the hearing very brief, only Roman Silberfeld, Yeghiayan’s attorney, and Mark Geragos, for the opposing side, spoke.
Once again, the name of Parsegh Kartalian name came up. He was the administrator who ran the distribution of the millions of dollars that AXA was required to pay to the rightful recipients of the insurance policies’ payouts. This time, he was the focus of what both Geragos and Silberfeld had agreed upon in their meeting that was ordered by the judge at the previous hearing. They were going to ask Kartalian for a report covering the claims paid, charitable contributions made, and the office operation. It is hoped this report will clarify the situation for all concerned. If the court is not satisfied with the result, then a further hearing would be held.
The sides have agreed that all 13,000 claim files will be moved to a neutral site with access for all. Whether this means the public is included, or if it is just the parties to the current lawsuit, was not specified. They have also agreed to hire an accounting firm to conduct an audit all of them for a fixed fee. They have agreed to a firm, but it has not yet been hired.
The sides also proposed reexamining the claims that had been paid to correct for the 0.1% that had been discovered. But, only claims where the payment was $10,000 or greater will be covered by this arrangement. This is because smaller amounts would result in corrections of less than $10, creating a state of diminishing returns. The judge approved this, but added that the smaller claims should be informed of this situation, and only if they request the correction e.g. with the claimant paying the postage, would they receive the funds.
The next hearing is scheduled for January 30.
In the interest of full disclosure, my family is an AXA claimant. The claim was denied. No explanation was given.