Wrongful-death lawsuit in Powell case moves ahead

TACOMA — A judge on Friday refused to dismiss a wrongful-death lawsuit brought against Washington state by the maternal grandparents of Josh Powell’s children.

Chuck and Judy Cox, the parents of Josh Powell’s missing wife, Susan, say state social workers did not do enough to keep the boys safe from their father.

When a state worker delivered Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, to their father’s rented home in Graham on Feb. 5, 2012, Josh Powell locked out the worker and ignited a fire that killed himself and his sons. Josh Powell was a suspect in the 2009 disappearance in Utah of his wife, Susan Powell.

The News Tribune reports that at a Friday hearing, an attorney for the state said the Coxes lawsuit was without merit. Peter Helmberger, assistant attorney general, argued that social workers did nothing wrong in their implementation and supervision of visitations between Powell and his sons.

However a Pierce County Superior Court Judge denied a motion for a summary judgment, saying the case against the Department of Social and Health Services should be heard by a jury.

“The Cox family will have their day in court,” Judge Jerry Costello said.

The case is scheduled to go to trial in September.

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