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Police officers' lawsuit trial postponed again

Scheduling conflicts means suit against city is on hold.

June 14, 2013|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

A federal trial sought by five Armenian American Glendale police officers who are suing the city for alleged discrimination and harassment has been pushed back again and now isn't expected to start until November.

Trial had originally been set to start in March in the case involving Officers Vahak Mardikian, Tigran Topadzhikyan, Robert Parseghian, John Balian and Benny Simonzad. It first was moved to July, and then this week pushed back again to a non–specified date in November due to scheduling conflicts on the both sides.

For the city, its lead counsel will be away at a convention. And Topadzhikyan is out of state attending the Naval Postgraduate School in the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

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The officers filed a joint lawsuit in 2010 against the Glendale Police Department and the city, claiming on-the-job discrimination, harassment and retaliation because they're Armenian.

In July 2012, a U.S. District Court judge ruled the officers could move forward with the lawsuit and refused to dismiss the claims, although some claims against certain police commanders were dropped.

Following that ruling, the city changed its legal counsel, a new judge was assigned to the case, and both sides met to discuss a possible settlement.

But the discussion proved to be futile.

Mardikian, Balian and Topadzhikyan filed a separate racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit in March 2012 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. That case has been on hold due to the ongoing federal case.

A hearing on the status of case is scheduled on July 30.

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Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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