Thousands of Armenians whose relatives were genocide victims also joined in the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs scored a partial victory two years ago when U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder said the law passed in 2000 by the California Legislature gave the descendants standing to sue. But that ruling was overturned by the appellate court.
Town hall organizers hoped their forum would give stakeholders confidence despite the recent court ruling, said Zanku Armenian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee Glendale chapter.
“It’s a legal matter that often times [includes] complicated matters and so it’s important to get the community to understand both what transpired, what the implications of the court decisions are, as well as what the potential avenues for them are, in terms of appeals,” Armenian said.
Representatives for Shant Student Assn. and the Armenian Bar Assn. participated in the town hall discussion, bringing more than 100 people, including many students and attorneys.
An overwhelming majority of those in the audience had no direct ties to the outcome of the case, but were interested nonetheless, they said.
The court’s ruling to block the push for a settlement on insurance claims was unfair because a law was in place to allow similar suits, La Crescenta resident Caroline Tashejian said.
“Taking it back, it pushes us further back, in terms of progressing our cause,” she said.
Sylvia Natalie Manoogian, of Los Angeles, had benefited from the New York Life settlement and came to learn more about what she said was an unfortunate appellate court ruling.
Her family, which received $20,000 in the New York Life settlement, claims to own property within modern Turkey’s borders, but has not been able to secure it.
She saw the battle for life insurance claims and genocide recognition first hand, she said.
“The more information I have, the more it gives me tools and means [for moving forward],” she said.