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Annual Report: Wash. Paid Out $48 Million In Liability Claims, A Six-Year Low

Washington State Department of Enterprise Services

The state of Washington paid out nearly $50 million last fiscal year to people who were somehow harmed by the state. The numbers were released Tuesday in an annual report on tort claim payouts.

The single biggest payout was $9 million, which went to six children who suffered physical, sexual and emotional abuse in their biological home and in foster care. The Department of Social and Health Services was accused of failing to protect the children. Washington also recently paid $8 million to six more children in a similar case.

Another $8 million went to victims of a deadly shooting in Skagit County in 2008. Issac Zamora was on community supervision when he killed six people, including a sheriff’s deputy, and wounded four more.

A Washington prison inmate was awarded nearly $3 million after his cellmate blinded him. All of these payouts were the result of out-of-court settlements. Washington paid a total of $48 million in tort claim payments last fiscal year. That’s a six-year low.


Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.