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American Insurance in Russia Can Be Collected Before U.S. Recognition

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Court Renders Important Decision in Case of Heinrich Sliosberg (Jewish Daily Bulletin)

An important decision affecting many Russian Jews who carried insurance policies in American insurance companies was rendered by the New York State Court of Appeals yesterday. Judge T. Henry Kellogg rendered the opinion in the ease which was brought up on behalf of Dr. Heinrich Sliosberg, the well known Russian Jewish attorney. Dr. Sliosberg came to the United States several years ago for the purpose of bringing the ease to trial. The decision involves policies amounting to millions of dollars.

The Court declared as unconstitutional a New York state law passed in 1926 to stay all action on Russian insurance claims until thirty days after the United States had recognized the Soviet government.

Charles E. Hughes defended the legislation as counsel for the New York Life Insurance Company. Dr. Sliosberg was formerly attorney for the New York Life Insurance Company in Russia. Walter S. Pollak argued the ease for Dr. Sliosberg.

Suits involving more than $8,000,000 in the face value of life insurance policies will be filed in the next few days against American insurance companies as the result of the Court of Appeals decision holding unconstitutional the Russian insurance law, which was passed by the New York Legislature in 1926. Charles Recht, attorney for 80 per cent of the Russian policy holders of the New York Life Insurance Company and the Equitable Life Assurance Society, made this announcement.

“There will be 3,000 suits filed in a few days.” said Mr. Recht. “There are at least 28,000 policy holders of the New York Life Insurance Company in Russia and 6,500 policy holders of the Equitable. The suits will not only ask for the face value of the policies, but will ask for back interest on what has been paid in gold for the last twenty-five years, which would nearly double the amount we will seek to recover. I only represent about $2,000,000 worth, and it has been estimated that $40,000,000 worth of insurance is outstanding in Russia from American companies,” he said.

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