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WA DOC Settles Lawsuit with Slain Officers’ Families for $12.5 Million

Posted on Sep 27, 2012

The Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) announced Friday that it has finally reached a financial settlement regarding a wrongful death lawsuit (case # 10-4-00068-5 in Pierce County Superior Court) filed by the families of three Lakewood police officers who were slain by a fugitive in 2009. Attorneys representing the DOC have said that the settlements, which will provide $12.5 million dollars to each of the officers’ families, were finalized before a Pierce County Superior Court Judge Friday morning.

Seattle wrongful death attorney Christopher Davis, a self-proclaimed victims’ rights advocate, counts this settlement as a victory not only for the victims’ families, but also for proponents of victims’ rights nationwide.

"Individuals, corporations, and governmental entities must be held accountable and take responsibility for harm to or the death of a person that is due to the negligent actions, inaction or failure to follow rules, regulations or laws that exist to protect the safety of our citizens,” says Davis, who has experienced firsthand the devastation that follows a wrongful death incident.

The settlement stems from an October 2009 shooting at a coffee shop in the Lakewood area that left four of the city’s police officers dead. Maurice Clemmons, who was found to be the man responsible for the shooting, was killed two days later by a Seattle police officer in a separate incident.

The original wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the DOC failed to act on warrants for Clemmons issued by the state of Arkansas just weeks before the shooting occurred. Authorities in Arkansas requested that the fugitive be held in jail pending trial, and while the community corrections officer in charge of Clemmons’ case properly noted the warrant in the computer system, he reportedly did not alert the Pierce County Jail or prosecutors following Clemmons’ arrest in Arkansas.

"Unfortunately this is not the only case in which the DOC's failure to adequately supervise has resulted in harm or death," Davis added.

Davis, who has represented numerous wrongful death victims throughout Washington State during his career, has also penned the Washington Accident Books, a series of legal guides regarding personal injury law and wrongful death.

The Washington Accident Books has provided free legal information to thousands of Washington State accident victims since their inception in 2006. As a public service to all victims who have suffered an insurmountable loss of a loved one, such as the families involved in this particular wrongful death lawsuit, Davis is providing his book, “Wrongful Death in Washington State,” for free for a limited time. Anyone interested in ordering their complimentary copy should visit for more information.

About Chris Davis

Christopher M. Davis, founder of the Davis Law Group, has been a licensed attorney in the state of Washington since 1993. He has tried dozens of personal injury cases to verdict and has successfully handled and resolved hundreds of accident claims. He has been a Washington Super Lawyer' for seven years in a row for his expertise and success in litigating personal injury claims. You can learn more about the firm by visiting: