Lawyer: Families reach $10 million deal with timber company in Oso landslide suit
SEATTLE — Attorneys say a timber company that logged an area above a massive 2014 landslide has agreed to pay $10 million to people who survived and family members of people who died in the slide.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs announced the sum Monday after the deal with Grandy Lake Forest Associates was revealed. The company didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
The lawsuit was filed following the devastating Oso landslide, which killed 43 people and wiped out a rural neighborhood.
Plaintiffs alleged that the state, Snohomish County and Grandy Lake have liability for worsening damage from the slide or failing to warn about the danger in the area.
Attorneys announced a $50 million settlement Sunday with the state of Washington.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson has acknowledged one of his lawyers knew for the past year and a half that experts hired by the state to determine the cause of the 2014 slide were deleting emails among themselves.
"The Oso landslide represents one of the most tragic events in state history, and the sympathies of Washingtonians remain with those who lost so much," said attorney general Bob Ferguson. "Today’s settlement of the legal chapter of this tragedy represents a fair resolution for all parties."
King County Superior Court Judge Roger Rogoff said in court that no legal proceedings could bring back those who were killed, but he told family members he hoped the settlement can bring some closure.
Rogoff also ordered the state of Washington to pay more than $1.1 million because the state's expert witnesses in the litigation were deleting emails that should have been preserved. He issued his ruling Monday after it was announced the state and a timber company had settled the lawsuit for $60 million.
Rogoff ordered the state to pay more than $394,000 in costs and attorney fees due to the deleted emails and to pay another nearly $789,000 in punitive damages.