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The Latest: AG lets go of lawyer who OK'd email deletions

October 04, 2016 - 3:28 PM

SEATTLE - The Latest on sanctions against Washington state related to the deletion of emails by expert witnesses in the Oso landslide liability case(all times local):

3:20 p.m.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson says a lawyer in his office who knew that the state's expert witnesses in a lawsuit over liability for the Oso landslide were deleting emails is no longer working for him.

Ferguson made the announcement Tuesday after a King County Superior Court judge announced sanctions against the state related to the email deletions. Spokesman Peter Lavallee says Mark Jobson was working as a contractor, and that when his contract expired on Sept. 30 it was not renewed "by mutual agreement."

Jobson did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Ferguson previously acknowledged that Jobson 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. But the office insisted Jobson sincerely believed the emails did not need to be turned over to the plaintiffs and thus could be deleted.

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12:03 p.m.

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 (https://goo.gl/1wMSx2 ) 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.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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