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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2001
State Task Force To Study Increasing Tort Payouts


Olympia -2/28/01- Governor Gary Locke and Attorney General Christine Gregoire today announced the formation of a Risk Management Task Force to address an increase in state tort lawsuits and payouts.

In the last ten years there has been an 80 percent increase in tort lawsuits against the state and payouts, which for five years averaged about $22 million, soared to more than $65 million in 2000.

The group will assess the state's risk management programs and look for ways to reduce or mitigate risk.

The Task Force will be co-chaired by Gregoire and Sue Donaldson from the University of Washington's Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.

Task Force members include Rep. Gary Alexander, Sen. Betti Sheldon, Office of Financial Mangement Director Marty Brown, Department of Corrections Secretary Joe Lehman, Department of Social and Health Services Secretary Dennis Braddock, Department of General Administration Director Marsha Tadano Long, Department of Transportation Risk Manger Bill Henselman, Kim Abel from the Kitsap County League of Women Voters, William Reisbick from Providence Health Systems, Dick Thompson from the University of Washington, and Seattle attorneys Janet Rice and Peter Ehrlichman.

The first meeting of the Task Force will be today at 3 p.m. in the Governor's Conference Room.

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