Thursday, February 9, 2006

Bill to Limit State Liability

[LEGISLATION] Attorney General Rob McKenna has proposed a bill (SB 6215) that affecting the state's liability for tortious conduct. The state would be liable to conduct that is comparable to private activities for which private persons may be liable. However, the government would not be liable for implementing policy in areas of governmental function requiring discretionary judgment, licensing, failure to enforce law, failure to apprehend people violating laws, or deteminations of eligibility for benefits -- except in certain defined circumstances.

See the Attorney General's briefing sheet about SB 6215, the "Responsible Liability Act" and the law review article he co-authored: Michael Tardif & Rob McKenna, Washington State's 45-Year Experiment in Government Liability, 29 Seattle U.L. Rev. 1 (2005) (abstract) (LexisNexis) (Westlaw).

Trial Ad instructor David Moody wrote an editorial opposing the bill: Stand up for State's Fragile Citizens, Seattle Times, Jan. 31, 2006.

In a letter responding to Moody (Feb. 7), Sen. Adam Kline, one of the bill's sponsors, explains that he does not support the bill, but is obligated as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to be the prime sponsor of bills that are requested by the attorney general or state agencies.

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