The state's lawyers believe Jaycee Lee Dugard and her two daughters presented a strong case that California parole agents were negligent, including failing to act after talking to Dugard and one of her daughters.
The $20 million settlement approved by lawmakers last week represented a hedge against "the risk of a much higher jury award," the state attorney general's office says in a June 25 letter.
In the letter made public Wednesday by the attorney general's office, one of the agency's top officials said the agents' miscues included their failure to act after they observed and even spoke to Dugard and one of her daughters while they were under the control of paroled rapist Phillip Garrido.
The six-page letter, written by Senior Assistant Attorney General Rochelle C. East, said the claims of negligence lodged against the state by Dugard and her daughters were supported by a series of blunders by Garrido's parole agents.
Dugard was abducted near her South Lake Tahoe home in 1991 when she was 11 years old. Her whereabouts remained a mystery until University of California, Berkeley, police became suspicious of Garrido last August and contacted parole agents.
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