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AGO 1983 No. 22 - October 20, 1983
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Ken Eikenberry | 1981-1992 | Attorney General of Washington

OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- STATE ‑- DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIES ‑- CRIMES ‑- COST OF LIVING INCREASES UNDER CRIME VICTIMS' COMPENSATION LAW

Pursuant to RCW 7.68.070, the cost of living increases authorized in RCW 51.32.075 for recipients of workers' compensation are also applicable to eligible crime victims under the state Crime Victims' Compensation Act. 

                                                              - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

                                                                October 20, 1983 

Honorable Sam Kinville
Director
Department of Labor
  and Industries
General Administration Building
Olympia, WA.  98504

Cite as:  AGO 1983 No. 22

Dear Sir:

            By recent letter you requested our opinion on the following question:

             "Do the cost of living increases authorized in RCW 51.32.075 apply to Crime Victim claims?"

             We answer the foregoing question in the affirmative for the reasons set forth below.

                                                                      ANALYSIS

             At the outset we note for the record that your question has already been considered by this office, and similarly answered in the affirmative, in a memorandum opinion to David Hutchins, Assistant Director, Department of Labor and Industries, dated August 10, 1983.  Apparently, however, you have some need for a formal confirmation of that advice and, for that reason, you have submitted the instant request.

             In establishing the state Crime Victims' Compensation Act the legislature stated its intent, in what is now RCW 7.68.010, as follows:

              [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "It is the intent of the legislature of the state of Washington to provide a method of compensating and assisting innocent victims of criminal acts who suffer bodily injury or death as a consequence thereof.  To that end, it is the intention of the legislature to make certain of the benefits and services which are now or hereafter available to injured workmen under Title 51 RCW also available to innocent victims of crime as defined and provided for in this chapter."

             In turn, by what is now RCW 7.68.070, the legislature implemented that expression of intent by providing, in material part, as follows:

             "The rights to benefits under this chapter and the amount thereof will be governed insofar as is applicable by the provisions contained in chapter 51.32 RCW as now or hereafter amended except as provided in this section:

             "(1) The provisions contained in RCW 51.32.015, 51.32.030, 51.32.072, 51.32.073, 51.32.180, 51.32.190 and 51.32.200 as now or hereafter amended are not applicable to this chapter.

             ". . ."

             Thus, in essence, one looks to the state workers' compensation scheme to determine both the right to crime victims' compensation (insofar as those provisions are applicable) and the amount thereof.  In so doing, however, one then overlooks, or disregards, certain specific sections of chapter 51.32 RCW in the process‑-because the legislature has said that those particular sections (all listed in RCW 7.68.070(1)) are inapplicable.  By thus expressly listing certain sections of chapter 51.32 RCW as inapplicable in the process a determining the right to, and/or the amount of a crime victim's compensation, the legislature, which was presumably aware of the entire content of that RCW chapter, should be deemed to have intended that all of the other provisions of chapter 51.32 RCW would be applicable‑-particularly in light of the affirmative statement to that effect in the opening paragraph of RCW 7.68.070,supra.  Accord,Bradley v. Department of Labor and Industries, 52 Wn.2d 780, 329 P.2d 196 (1958) in which, under similar circumstances, the Court applied ". . . the familiar rule of statutory construction that the express mention of one thing  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] will be taken to imply the exclusion of another thing,expressio unius est exclusio alterius. . ." to another part of the state workers' compensation law.

             This leads us, of course, to the section of chapter 51.32 RCW which is cited in your question.  As last amended by § 1, chapter 203, Laws of 1983, RCW 51.32.075 reads as follows:

             "The compensation or death benefits payable pursuant to the provisions of this chapter for temporary total disability, permanent total disability, or death arising out of injuries or occupational diseases shall be adjusted as follows:

             "(1) On July 1, 1982, there shall be an adjustment for those whose right to compensation was established on or after July 1, 1971, and before July 1, 1982.  The adjustment shall be determined by multiplying the amount of compensation to which they are entitled by a fraction, the denominator of which shall be the average monthly wage in the state under RCW 51.08.018 for the fiscal year in which such person's right to compensation was established, and the numerator of which shall be the average monthly wage in the state under RCW 51.08.018 on July 1, 1982.

             "(2) In addition to the adjustment established by subsection (1) of this section, there shall be another adjustment on July 1, 1983, for those whose right to compensation was established on or after July 1, 1971, and before July 1983, which shall be determined by multiplying the amount of compensation to which they are entitled by a fraction, the denominator of which shall be the average monthly wage in the state under RCW 51.08.018 for the fiscal year in which such person's right to compensation was established, and the numerator of which shall be the average monthly wage in the state under RCW 51.08.018 on July 1, 1983.

             "(3) In addition to the adjustments under subsections (1) and (2) of this section, further adjustments shall be made beginning on July 1, 1984, and on each July 1st thereafter for those whose right to compensation was established on or after July 1, 1971.  The adjustment shall be determined by multiplying the amount of compensation to which they are entitled by a fraction,  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] the denominator of which shall be the average monthly wage in the state under RCW 51.08.018 for the fiscal year in which such person's right to compensation was established, and the numerator of which shall be the average monthly wage in the state under RCW 51.08.018 on July 1st of the year in which the adjustment is being made."

             For the above stated reasons (as we also said in our previous memorandum opinion answering the same question) it is our opinion that this section of chapter 51.32 RCW is, indeed, applicable in computing the amount of compensation which an eligible crime victim is entitled to receive in accordance with RCW 7.68.070,supra. We thus answer your question, as above stated, in the affirmative.

             We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

 Very truly yours,
KENNETH O. EIKENBERRY
Attorney General

PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Senior Deputy Attorney General

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