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Court rules against state in health benefits case

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- The state Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's ruling that says that damages to be paid to part-time state employees who were wrongfully denied health benefits has to take into account more than just actual out-of-pocket costs.

The high court on Thursday ruled unanimously in favor of a class action group's stance on such damages, and rejected the Health Care Authority's argument that the state should only pay for actual costs paid by class members during the time they were denied benefits.

The King County Superior Court ruling found in favor of the plaintiffs in December 2012, but held off on ruling on an award because of questions that remained, including about the size of the class. The case now heads back to King County.

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