Yeghiayan, Yemenidjian honored at ArmenBar conference
Published: Saturday January 29, 2011

>From left: Vicken Simonian, Arda Yemenidjian and ArmenBar Chairman
Edvin Minassian.

Las Vegas, Nevada-Numerous attorneys, judges, law professors, and law
students flocked to the newly renovated, elegant Tropicana Hotel and
Casino in Las Vegas, as the Armenian Bar Association (ArmenBar)
presented an outstanding group of legal experts on January 15.

Vartkes Yeghiayan, who has gained acclaimed notoriety as a Genocide
reparations pioneer, and Arda Yemenidjian, a community leader and
philanthropist, received special recognition at a luncheon in their

"The quality of the speakers and the content of the lectures equaled
or exceeded any program offered in the legal community," said Edvin
Minassian, Chairman of ArmenBar. "We were extremely proud to have been
able to present such a distinguished group of legal scholars to our
members, and honor two of the finest members of our community," said

The event was held in the all new Tropicana Conference Center. The
Tropicana is undergoing a $180 million renovation under the direction
of new owner Alex Yemenidjian, and is on its way to re-establishing
its reputation as a premiere Vegas destination. The newly remodeled
guest rooms have received recognition as "Best in Class," and were
given high marks by those in attendance. Features such as Nikki Beach,
The Las Vegas Mob Experience, and a state-of-the-art sports book are
just a few of the many new upcoming attractions at the hotel.

Yeghiayan was introduced at the luncheon by U.S. Army Brigadier
General and accomplished trial lawyer Mark MacCarley. He received the
coveted Lifetime Achievement Award, the group's highest honor. Arda
Yemenidjian was introduced by Vicken Simonian, past Chairman of
ArmenBar, and received a Public Service Award. Both honorees were
given a standing ovation.

Garo Ghazarian, ArmenBar Vice-Chairman, and Dean of the Peoples
College of Law, was the Master of Ceremonies at the luncheon.. The
group was addressed by Chairman Minassian, Board members Hovanes
Margarian and John Lulejian and the Honorable Raffi K. Hovannisian.

Hovannisian is the founding father of ArmenBar, the first Foreign
Minister of the Republic of Armenia, and the first Diasporan Armenian
to become a member of the Armenian Parliament as the head of the
Heritage party. His words regarding the honorees and the organization
were thoughtful, inspirational and moving.

Preeminent attorney Yeghiayan was joined by law professor Michael
Bazyler, federal court international litigation expert Lee
Crawford-Boyd and Setrak Davuthan, a prominent community attorney for
Turkish Armenians. Two topics were presented as part of the program,
including "Legal Remedies, restitution or monetary compensation for
the dispossession of Armenians of pre-Genocide communal and private
property in their homeland" and "Current State of Legal Affairs
involving Armenians in Turkey." Attorneys attending the event earned
four units of continuing legal education credits.

The legal remedies discussion was moderated by Yeghiayan and included
Bazyler, a Chapman University School of Law professor and
Crawford-Boyd. Bazyler is a leading authority on the use of the
American and European courts to redress genocide and other historical

Boyd is of counsel with the law firm of Howarth & Smith in Los
Angeles. She is an adjunct professor at Pepperdine Law School teaching
international law, complex litigation and human rights. As a
litigation consultant, she specializes in federal court complex cases
and international relations.

The panelists discussed the wide array of Genocide aftermath
recoveries, including lawsuits against insurance companies, European
banks, companies that employed slave labor, museums who hold looted
artwork and governments holding improperly seized land. Past and
current cases involving Holocaust and Genocide claims were discussed,
including legislation to extend the statute of limitations.

Also addressing the audience was Loyola law professor Stan Goldman.
Goldman teaches a class at Loyola, with Bazyler, on post-Genocide
remedies. He is the faculty advisor to the Loyola Armenian Law
Students Association.

The discussion regarding the state of legal affairs involving
Armenians in Turkey was delivered by Davuthan. He is a lawyer for the
foundations of the Armenian community in Istanbul. He led the
precedent setting legal effort for Armenian Foundations in Istanbul
before the European Court of Human Rights, successfully recovering
real property seized in 1936 from Samatya Surp (Saint) Kevork Armenian
Church Trust and the Surp Pirgic Yedikule Hospital Foundation.
Davuthan has represented the community in a diverse number of cases
including the rights of Turkish Armenians to elect a new Patriarch and
the rights of children of Armenian citizens to attend private schools
in Turkey.

He discussed these issues, and the challenges of litigating civil
rights cases for minority class citizens of Turkey.

Yeghiayan was responsible for initiating, and was lead counsel, in the
landmark case of Marootian v. New York Life. The class action lawsuit
sought to recover life insurance proceeds relating to victims of the
Armenian Genocide. The case resulted in a $20 million dollar
settlement, and touched off a series of cases involving recovery of
Genocide-related claims. He is currently involved in a case against
the Turkish government and two Turkish banks to recover $63 million
dollars for land improperly seized from Armenians during the Genocide,
including land which is currently occupied by the strategic Incirlik
airbase utilized by the U.S. military.

Arda Yemenidjian is the wife of Alex Yemenidjian, the former CEO of
MGM Studios and current owner of the Tropicana.Arda is one of the
first students of the Ferrahian high school in Encino, the first
Armenian school in California. She has been involved in the legal
field for many years, managing the Law Office of Terenik Koujakian,
her brother. She has been involved with a number of Armenian charities
and non-profit organizations, donating her time and resources to
worthy Armenian causes.

From: A. Papazian