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Loss in video-game lawsuit hits California taxpayers in wallet

January 31, 2012 |  1:25 pm

State lawmakers agreed Tuesday to pay $12.99 million to settle various claims, including those from lawsuits alleging that the state illegally tried to ban the sale of violent video games and that it provided inadequate protection of forests.

The state Senate approved paying $5.5 million in attorneys fees incurred by the Environmental Protection Information Center and the United Steelworkers of America in pursuing lawsuits challenging the state Department of Forestry's actions permitting the harvesting of wood by Pacific Lumber Co.

Some Republicans voted against the bill, saying the lumber case involved too much taxpayer money. Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) said the amount of money being paid is "unreasonable."

Lawmakers also approved $950,000 in attorneys fees for the Entertainment Merchants Assn. after that group successfully sued the state and overturned a law banning the sale of violent video games to minors.

The state will also pay $4.2 million to settle a claim by Mather Development Partners IV that the state's former EdFund improperly backed out of a lease of the company's buildings.

And the Senate approved $1.5 million to settle a claim by the family of Aaron Ciccotti, who in 2009 was seriously injured when a large tree collapsed on him while the family was camping at Los Banos Creek Reservoir in Gustine.


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento