Washington DC breeding

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For our nation's capital, the cost of legal settlements -- from slip and falls to major medical malpractice cases -- has added up.

From 2007 to 2009, the District of Columbia has paid out more than $50 million to settle personal injury and related lawsuits, The Washington Post reported.

In that same period, suburban Montgomery County, which has nearly 400,000 more residents, paid out only $8.5 million, the paper's analysis of records shows.

Why?

The paper explains that DC functions as a combination of a city and state and serves as the nation's capital, a stage for demonstrations that breed a cottage industry of lawsuits.

"There are more lawyers per capita in this city than any other city in the world," said Peter Nickles, DC's attorney general, whose staff negotiates the settlements, "And what do lawyers like to do?"

The Post's analysis found that numerous agencies are sued, but the police department was the target of the most cases - 92 from 2007-2009 - and was responsible for nearly $9 million in settlements.

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