Justices review $100M award for home care workers



SEATTLE — Justices on the Washington Supreme Court are considering whether a $100 million verdict against the state should be allowed to stand.

The money was awarded to some 22,000 home care workers who were shortchanged by a state rule that was in effect from 2003 to 2007.

Under the rule, workers who cared for low-income, severely disabled people automatically had their pay reduced by 15 percent if they lived with the person they cared for. The state Supreme Court struck down the rule in 2007, saying it was inconsistent with federal Medicaid rules, and the workers sued to get the money they said they were owed.

A jury sided with the workers in 2011 and awarded $57 million, and a judge tacked on interest, bringing the total award to more than $100 million. A lawyer for the state asked the justices to reverse the verdict during arguments Tuesday.

Lawyers for the workers have filed a cross-appeal.