Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


“This was a tragic accident that shattered Paula Joyce’s family. Everyone involved in this case feels enormous sympathy for the Joyce family and we’re all relieved that finally, eight years after the accident, we’ve reached an agreement that will bring resolution to the litigation.

Although the state was successful in overturning the $22.5 million verdict, retrial would have been difficult and could have resulted in yet another costly verdict and another lengthy and expensive appeal. With this in mind, the state of Washington has entered into a settlement with Stephen Joyce to pay $6.5 million.

The attorneys in this case, Senior Counsel Glen Anderson, Senior Counsel Michael Lynch and Assistant Attorney General Michael Tardif, worked very hard to come to a reasonable agreement and they are to be commended for their expertise and professionalism in this difficult case.

Although this represents a significant payout, we believe it also represents a reasonable settlement given the length of this case, the potential for another jury verdict and the need to bring finality to the matter for all the parties.

We wish the Joyce family the best as they move on with their lives.”

Background: Joyce v. Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) was tried in 2001. On behalf of the Department of Corrections and the citizens of the state, the Office of the Attorney General undertook an appeal of the $22.5 million verdict—the largest jury verdict against the state in history. The case was appealed all the way to the Washington State Supreme Court. In September 2005, the Supreme Court issued a decision that expanded the state’s liability for the actions of offenders on parole, but overturned the verdict and remanded the case for a new trial in Pierce County Superior Court.


Contact: Janelle Guthrie, AG Media Relations Director, (360) 586-0725