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Italian Insurer Prepared To Settle Holocaust Claims

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Lawyers for plaintiffs and Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. may be getting closer to settling Holocaust-era claims.

The lawyers leading the plaintiffs’ legal team, who are associated with Kohn, Swift & Graf P.C., Philadelphia, and the lawyers representing Generali, Trieste, have submitted a proposed settlement for approval by Judge George Daniels at the U.S. District Court in New York.

Daniel started a hearing on the proposed settlement Wednesday, then adjourned the hearing to “discuss further items,” without setting a date for resumption of the hearing, said Marco Schnabl, a lawyer with Skaden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom L.L.P., New York, who represents Generali.

“In effect,” Schnabl said, “the sides are huddling.”

The proposed agreement negotiated before the hearing calls for claim forms to be processed and paid using validation procedures established by the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, London, an organization created by Generali and other life insurers.

Claimants could receive as little as $1,000, according to terms of the settlement announced by Robert Swift, a lawyer at Kohn, Swift.

William Shernoff, a lawyer at Shernoff Bidart & Darras L.L.P., Claremont, Calif., said he planned to opt out of the settlement on behalf of 25 families represented by his firm.

“Because the class action is based on ICHEIC evaluations, our clients feel that’s not fair, because ICHEIC is funded and controlled by insurers,” Shernoff said.