House and Senate lawmakers agreed Tuesday to sign off on the payment of nearly $11 million to resolve claims against the state.

In all, House Bill 2279 appropriates the funds for 23 settlements and judicial orders involving seven departments.

Opening day at the Hawaii Senate.
The lawmakers have signed off on a $10.95 million tab to satisfy 23 claims against the state. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Before passing the bill, a joint House-Senate conference committee amended it to include four new claims: $162,500 for a settlement involving the Department of Land and Natural Resources, $20,000 for a settlement involving the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, $11,950 for an order against the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and $10,000 for a settlement involving the Hawaii Department of Education.

The four claims were the latest additions to the bill that has steadily grown in size since it was introduced in January. In the original version of the bill, only five claims, totaling $4.7 million, were submitted by the Hawaii Department of Attorney General for the lawmakers to approve.

Of the 21 claims, the largest one was for a $4 million claim against the Hawaii Department of Public Safety. In October, the department agreed to settle a medical malpractice lawsuit, which was filed by a former inmate at the Oahu Community Correctional Center after he lost all of his fingers and both feet. The fund would cover the state’s portion of the $7.2 million settlement; the state’s insurance company is financing the rest.

More than $3 million was approved for the second biggest claim, which stemmed from the settlements for three cases in which the Department of Education was found to have underpaid substitute and part-time teachers.

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