State to pay Linda David


Herald Writers

The state of Washington has agreed to pay $8.8 million to Linda David, a woman allegedly beaten for years by her husband while the state paid him to look after her.

The settlement, one of the largest ever paid by the state in a negligence case, ended a $55 million lawsuit filed by David’s lawyer. It comes 31/2 years after David, 51, was pulled, battered and brain-damaged, from a fetid sailboat moored on the Snohomish River near Everett.

Gov. Gary Locke said the settlement should help David find the care she needs to cope with her extensive injuries.

"This settlement is to make sure she gets the care she needs for the rest of her life and to make her as whole as possible," Locke said after the settlement was announced Thursday.

Locke acknowledged the state, among others, bore responsibility for what happened to her.

"Everybody failed her, from neighbors to her husband to relatives and obviously, as I’ve said before, some of our case workers were not as vigilant as they could have been," he said.

David’s husband, Victor David, 60, was arrested in May 1999. He remains behind bars, charged with second-degree assault against his wife, felony weapons violations and misdemeanor mistreatment of the five German shepherd dogs that he kept on his sailboat. Trial is scheduled for mid-September.

Prosecutors claim David hid his wife away on his sailboat, abusing her in secret for years. David has said he is innocent.

The alleged abuse left Linda David with scars on her face, her ears cauliflowered and her senses scrambled. She remains at an area nursing home.

For at least a dozen years leading up to her discovery on the boat, the Department of Social and Health Services paid for Victor David to care for his wife, said David Walsh, a state deputy attorney general who was the state’s lead attorney in the settlement talks.

"There were warning signals during that period of time."

Given her massive injuries, Walsh said the state would have run the risk of a larger jury award if it went to trial.

Pierce County was also represented in the settlement talks, which wrapped up in San Francisco on Wednesday under the guidance of a professional mediator, Antonio Piazza. Walsh declined to say if Pierce County agreed to pay any money as part of the settlement.

Pierce County officials could not be reached for comment.

DSHS has come under fire in recent years for its handling of several cases.

The state is currently contesting a $17.8 million verdict in Pierce County that would be the largest jury verdict paid by the state in such a case. The jury awarded the money to three disabled men who were reportedly abused at a group home licensed by the state.

In addition, Locke said the new DSHS Secretary, Dennis Braddock, has acknowledged the state may have made mistakes in the case of a 3-year-old Tacoma girl killed earlier this year.

The department had returned the girl to her mother after she was taken away at birth.

Locke said Braddock would be focused on reforming the massive state agency.

"We’re willing to take responsibility for failures of our employees, and he’s on a mission to change the corporate culture and the attitude," Locke said.

You can call Herald Writer Warren Cornwall at 425-339-3463 or send e-mail

You can call Herald Writer Scott North at 425-339-3431or send e-mail

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mel Jennings sits in his structure during a point-in-time count of people facing homelessness in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Mel has had a brain and spinal surgery, and currently has been homeless for a year. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Annual homeless count aims to give snapshot of housing crisis

Volunteers set out into the rain Tuesday to count all the people facing homelessness in central Everett.

Catherine Berwicks loads ballots into a tray after scanning them at the Snohomish County Elections Ballot Processing Center on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 in Everett, Wa.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Lawmakers push to boost voting in county jails across the state

A House bill envisions an approach similar to what’s been happening in the Snohomish County Jail for several years.

Vandalism at Seaview Park on Jan. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Edmonds Police Department)
Police seek suspects in repeated vandalism at Edmonds parks

Vandals have done over $10,000 of damage to parks across the city, including suspected arson and graffiti with hate speech.

One worker looks up from the cargo area as another works in what will be the passenger compartment on one of the first Boeing 787 jets as it stands near completion at the front of the assembly line, Monday, May 19, 2008, in Everett, Wash. The plane, the first new Boeing jet in 14 years, is targeted for power on in June followed by an anticipated first flight sometime late in 2008.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing workers long-exposed to carcinogen far above legal limits

The company confirmed in depositions that parts of its Everett plant still don’t meet 2010 standards.

CarlaRae Arneson, of Lynnwood, grabs a tea press full of fresh tea from Peanut the server robot while dining with her 12-year-old son Levi at Sushi Hana on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. CarlaRae said she and her son used to visit the previous restaurant at Sushi Hana’s location and were excited to try the new business’s food. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Peanut the robot waitress is on a roll at Lynnwood’s Sushi Hana

She’s less RoboCop and more Rosey as she patrols the restaurant, making sure everyone has a drink and good time.

K-9 Hobbs and Sgt. Jason Robinson pose for a photo after Hobbs’ retirement ceremony at the Edmonds Police Department in Edmonds, Washington on Thursday Jan. 26, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Police dog Hobbs retires after nearly 10 years on the Edmonds force

The German shepherd had 520 deployments, 166 arrests and 113 evidence finds with his handler, Sgt. Jason Robinson.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown and the victim of a brutal attack in 2018 answer questions from reporters on Jan. 27, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
White supremacists sentenced for racist beating at Lynnwood bar

A federal judge handed out stiffer sentences than prosecutors had asked for in a series of sentencing hearings Friday.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring is this year's winner of the Henry M. Jackson Award given by Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Photographed in Marysville, Washington on April 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Marysville State of the City address set for Feb. 1

Mayor Jon Nehring will highlight 2022 accomplishments and look to the future. Questions from the audience will follow.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A move to require voting and a bicameral chasm on vehicle pursuits

It’s Day 19 and the mood is heating up as the third week of the 2023 legislative session comes to an end.

Most Read