November 23, 2004
Blacks Demand Equal Justice from New York Life Insurance Company
Outraged over what they call a, "Jim Crow standard for justice,” Black descendants of enslaved Africans launched an online campaign against New York Life Insurance Company entitled, “Justice 4 One – Justice 4 All”. The campaign raises questions about why, on January 26, 2004, New York Life forced Black descendants of African slavery victims out of court with a class action lawsuit for restitution, and three (3) days later settled a similar case for $20 million with White descendants of Armenian genocide victims. The website is located at: www.justice4one-justice4all.com.
Outraged over what they call a “Jim Crow standard for justice,” Black descendants of African slavery victims launched an online campaign against New York Life Insurance Company entitled, “Justice 4 One – Justice 4 All” – at www.justice4one-justice4all.com. The campaign raises questions about why, on January 26, 2004, New York Life forced Blacks out of court with a class action lawsuit for slavery restitution, and three days later settled a similar case for $20 million with White descendants of Armenian genocide victims.
The slavery case was filed against New York Life in May of 2002, and is entitled, In Re: African-American Slave Descendants, CV-02-7764(CRN) (United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division). Black plaintiffs claimed that New York Life committed a crime against humanity via its early company that wrote life insurance policies enslaving their African ancestors in mid-1800. Slave owners were the beneficiaries.
Over one third of New York Life’s first revenue came from writing slave policies. This practice encouraged the employment of enslaved people in ultra-hazardous capacities, like coal mining or constructing railroads, which sometimes resulted in burning and drowning deaths. The website contains a copy of a company policy enslaving an African named Robert Moody who was employed in a Virginia coal pit.
The Armenian genocide case, Marootian v. New York Life Insurance Company, CV-99-12073(CAS),(United States District Court, Central District of California), was filed in November of 1999. The plaintiffs claimed that New York Life wrongfully failed to pay benefits under life insurance policies they issued as far back as the 1870s in the Turkish Ottoman Empire on the lives of their Armenian ancestors. New York Life denies any wrongdoing.
Slave descendants say critical factors in the cases were identical and should have resulted in the same outcome:
- Both cases involved insurance policies from the 19th century;
- Both involved descendants making claims on behalf of themselves and their ancestors; and
- Both cases resulted from some of the worst crimes committed against humans in world history -- the enslavement of Africans, and the genocide of Armenians.
“Race is the key difference in these cases. This looks like discrimination against African-Americans,” said Deadria Farmer- Paellmann, Executive Director of the Restitution Study Group -- the New York non-profit sponsoring the campaign.
The slavery case was amended in the Northern District Federal Court in Chicago, Illinois on April 5, 2004. A decision is pending.
Posted by Tom Troceen