Tentative settlement in Mattawa day-care suits against state - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tentative settlement in Mattawa day-care suits against state

Associated Press - May 30, 2008 8:35 PM ET

MATTAWA, Wash. (AP) - In tentative settlements, the state has agreed to pay more than $2 million to settle civil rights lawsuits brought by Latino-owned day-care centers in the Eastern Washington town of Mattawa.

The two lawsuits alleged that the "white mayor of Mattawa," Judy Esser, and members of the "all-white Mattawa Police Department" urged a state investigation into day-care providers working in the community of 3,000, which in 2001 was about 95% Hispanic. The lawsuits said the ensuing investigation included unlawful searches and seizures.

If approved by a federal judge, the nine plaintiffs in one case would receive $45,000 each, and the state would revise its manual on handling home child-care inspections.

The tentative settlement in the other case totals about $1.7 million. But DSHS says the split between the 21 plaintiffs and their private Seattle attorneys hasn't been determined.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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