The claims, which generally precede lawsuits, were filed with the state Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board. In the simple, two-page forms, Dugard, the two girls and her mother, Terry Probyn, all cite "various lapses by corrections department" and claim "psychological, physical and emotional" damages, said Jon Myers, spokesman for the board.
They list no dollar figure for damages, only a checked box indicating they exceed $25,000. State law requires personal injury claims to be filed within six months of an "incident." Authorities learned Aug. 26 of Dugard's identity and that she and the two girls fathered by Phillip Garrido had been living in a hidden backyard compound near Antioch.
Dale Kinsella, the Santa Monica-based attorney named on the forms, did not return a message Thursday. His firm's Web site says Kinsella specializes in entertainment and intellectual property law. His clients have included retired boxer Mike Tyson, Sean Connery, Jennifer Lopez, Sean Penn and Julia Roberts -- more indication that Dugard and the girls, now 12 and 15, are steering toward a Hollywood treatment of their story.
Hollywood publicist Nancy Seltzer, whose clients reportedly have included Hugh Jackman and Whitney Houston, has spoken for the family in recent weeks.
State parole agents started supervising Phillip Garrido in 1999, when he fell under a lifetime parole term from Nevada for the 1976 rape of a woman he kidnapped in South Lake Tahoe. Before that, over the time that authorities say Garrido and his wife, Nancy, abducted Jaycee and fathered the two girls, federal officials oversaw his parole.
A report by the state Inspector General's Office in November described numerous lapses by state parole agents and missed chances to unearth Dugard's identity before UC-Berkeley officials tipped off Garrido's parole agent in August. Among them, the state agency wrongly classified Garrido as a low-risk offender requiring less intensive supervision and overlooked visible power cables running behind the backyard fence.
Only after the report did Matthew Cate, state secretary of Corrections and Rehabilitation, acknowledge "serious errors" in Garrido's supervision.
One legal scholar said courts have been cautious about second-guessing government agencies and "trying to tell them how they should do their jobs," particularly amid budget constraints. But Lawrence Levine, a professor at McGeorge School of Law who writes on torts, said it may depend on whether parole officials followed their own lead.
"Is this really about discretion and how parole is making judgments, or is this simply a case where they totally screwed up?" Levine asked. "If it's the latter, it's a much easier case."
Just how much the state might pay is uncertain. Levine drew a parallel with wrongly convicted inmates who have won multimillion-dollar judgments after spending years or decades behind bars.
"It's always a challenge to come up with some amount of money that approximates the kind of mental suffering people go through," he said. "At some level it's never enough."