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Originally published June 9, 2014 at 5:05 PM | Page modified June 9, 2014 at 5:47 PM

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15 new claims filed over deaths, damages in mudslide

The claims initiated Monday against the state and Snohomish County involve 11 allegations of wrongful death. Others involve claims for property damage, compensation for injuries to a child, and one for outrage and emotional distress.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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These same people probably would have sued if the government wouldn't have allowed them to build on their property. MORE
The deaths are tragic. But ... if you buy a house in a floodplain and slide zone, tell me again how it's my fault if... MORE
@buzz32 Yep. It's so true. MORE

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Fifteen new claims against the state and Snohomish County were served Monday on behalf of victims of the Highway 530 mudslide.

The claims initiated Monday involve 11 allegations of wrongful death. Others involve claims for property damage, compensation for injuries to a child, and one for outrage and emotional distress.

The claims ­— precursors to lawsuits — must be submitted at least 60 days before a lawsuit can be filed.

Twelve of the new cases were brought by Seattle attorney Corrie Yackulic, who previously filed three other wrongful-death actions related to the landslide.

The other three new cases were initiated by Seattle attorney Karen Willie, who previously filed a wrongful-death claim for the family of mudslide victim Lon Slauson.

Yackulic said the cases are at an early, information-gathering stage.

Unlike the first wrongful-death claim from the mudslide, in which Yackulic asked for $3.5 million in compensation for the widow of victim Thomas Durnell, claims filed Monday do not specify damage amounts. They simply say damages would be determined by a jury.

“At the end of the day it’s not my call. It’s up to a jury,” said Yackulic, adding that media accounts about the $3.5 million figure created some “blowback” from the public.

The claims allege that construction was allowed in an area known to have had mudslides, and explore whether logging permitted in the area by the state Department of Natural Resources contributed to the slides.

Wrongful-death claims submitted by Yackulic on Monday are on behalf of relatives of victims Julie and Adam Farnes, Christina Jefferds, Summer Raffo, Stephen Neal, Joseph Miller, Jovon Mangual, Kaylee Spillers and Brooke Spillers.

Other claims Yackulic brought Monday are on behalf of Jonielle Spillers, for injuries sustained by her young son, Jacob Spillers; Rhonda and John Thompson, for destruction of their property; and LoAnna Langton, for outrage and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Among the claims initiated by Willie on Monday, one from the family of John and Kris Regelbrugge, who died in the slide, alleges wrongful death and property destruction.

Kris Regelbrugge remains the only one of the slide’s 43 victims whose remains have not been found in the massive debris field that covered a neighborhood and Highway 530 near the town of Oso.

Other claims started by Willie on Monday are on behalf of Davis and Ruth Hargrave, who lost a vacation home in the slide, and Irvin and Judith Wood, who lost their primary residence.

Jack Broom: jbroom@seattletimes.com or 206-464-2222



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