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Judge: State Must Pay For Email Destruction In Oso Case

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Ted S. Warren
/
AP Photo
FILE - In this March 24, 2014 file photo, the massive mudslide that killed 43 people in the community of Oso, Wash., is shown from the air.

A judge says Washington state will have to pay significant sanctions after its expert witnesses deleted emails related to a lawsuit over liability for the deadly Oso landslide.

The Daily Herald of Everett reports that King County Superior Court Judge Roger Rogoff said Tuesday he needs more time to determine the amount of the sanctions, but will include legal costs for the plaintiffs.

The judge said at least one of the state's attorneys encouraged the experts to destroy records, and he wants to spur the Attorney General's Office to overhaul its training practices.

Victims of the slide, which killed 43 people, argue that the state and a timber company should be held liable for damages, based on the notion that they made the hillside more dangerous and failed to warn residents of the danger.

Opening statements are set for next Monday.