OLYMPIA - Gov. Gary Locke and state Attorney General Christine Gregoire today announced an $8.8 million settlement of the $55 million lawsuit filed against the state by Linda David.
Under terms of the settlement, the state will pay $8.8 million to Linda David and her guardian.
Snohomish County prosecutors have charged David’s husband, Victor, with a variety of criminal charges, including assaulting his wife. The settlement identifies Victor David as the perpetrator, and he is prohibited from ever collecting money under the settlement.
State officials believe settlement of the lawsuit was appropriate. Under Washington tort law, even if a jury were to find Victor David 99 percent responsible for his wife’s injuries and the state liable, the state would have to pay the full amount of Linda David’s damages, since he is unable to pay.
Gov. Gary Locke said the settlement allows Mrs. David to receive the quality care she will need for the rest of her life. "Mrs. David’s particularly desperate plight deeply affected us all, and collectively we must respond to her needs."
"Unfortunately, we can’t undo the injuries to Linda David, but this settlement attempts to right a wrong with a financial settlement which is the remedy available through our civil court system," Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire said. "The challenge was to right the wrong and ensure taxpayers were treated justly, and I believe the settlement does that," she added.
Prior to entering settlement negotiations, a panel of state officials, including legislative leaders and representatives from Locke’s and Gregoire’s offices, the state’s Office of Risk Management, Department of Social and Health Services and the Office of Financial Management, discussed appropriate settlement terms.
The case has been a catalyst for change. Locke pointed out steps have been taken to try to keep such a situation from ever happening again.
New initiatives include:
- Provided funding for more case managers. Case managers now have no more than 85 cases. Before 1995, the caseload ratio was more than 150 cases per worker.
- The department’s Adult Protective Services workers also have lower caseloads and are better trained.
- The Vulnerable Adults Statute, which was signed into law in 1999, combined three related parts of the law into one section to clarify who is a mandatory reporter of abuse and neglect and how to properly report them. This bill also included clients receiving home care services, like Linda David, within the definition of a vulnerable adult.
The settlement was reached following a day-long mediation session led by Antonio Piazza, a nationally respected mediator.