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S.B. 35

             1     

GOVERNMENT IMMUNITY AMENDMENTS

             2     
2000 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Sponsor: Howard A. Stephenson

             5      Lyle W. Hillyard
             6      Terry R. Spencer
John L. Valentine
Ed P. Mayne


             7      AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS IN GENERAL; MODIFYING PROVISIONS TO
             8      THE GOVERNMENT'S WAIVERS OF IMMUNITY; CHANGING THE TIME PERIOD FOR
             9      FILING CLAIMS; MODIFYING THE DAMAGE CAPS; MAKING TECHNICAL
             10      CORRECTIONS; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
             11      This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
             12      AMENDS:
             13          63-30-10, as last amended by Chapters 159 and 264, Laws of Utah 1996
             14          63-30-12, as last amended by Chapter 164, Laws of Utah 1998
             15          63-30-34, as last amended by Chapter 76, Laws of Utah 1991
             16      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             17          Section 1. Section 63-30-10 is amended to read:
             18           63-30-10. Waiver of immunity for injury caused by negligent act or omission of
             19      employee -- Exceptions.
             20          Immunity from suit of all governmental entities is waived for injury proximately caused
             21      by a negligent or intentional wrongful act or omission of an employee committed within the scope
             22      of employment [except if] unless the [injury] claim arises out of, in connection with, or results
             23      from:
             24          (1) the exercise or performance or the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary
             25      function, whether or not the discretion is abused;
             26          (2) assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, intentional
             27      trespass, abuse of process, libel, slander, deceit, interference with contract rights, infliction of


             28      mental anguish, or violation of civil rights;
             29          (3) the issuance, denial, suspension, or revocation of or by the failure or refusal to issue,
             30      deny, suspend, or revoke any permit, license, certificate, approval, order, or similar authorization;
             31          (4) a failure to make an inspection or by making an inadequate or negligent inspection;
             32          (5) the institution or prosecution of any judicial or administrative proceeding, even if
             33      malicious or without probable cause;
             34          (6) a misrepresentation by an employee whether or not it is negligent or intentional;
             35          (7) riots, unlawful assemblies, public demonstrations, mob violence, and civil disturbances;
             36          (8) the collection of and assessment of taxes;
             37          (9) the activities of the Utah National Guard;
             38          (10) the incarceration of any person in any state prison, county or city jail, or other place
             39      of legal confinement;
             40          (11) any natural condition on publicly owned or controlled lands, any condition existing
             41      in connection with an abandoned mine or mining operation, or any activity authorized by the
             42      School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration or the Division of Forestry, Fire and State
             43      Lands;
             44          (12) research or implementation of cloud management or seeding for the clearing of fog;
             45          (13) the management of flood waters, earthquakes, or natural disasters;
             46          (14) the construction, repair, or operation of flood or storm systems;
             47          (15) the operation of an emergency vehicle, while being driven in accordance with the
             48      requirements of Section 41-6-14 ;
             49          (16) a latent dangerous or latent defective condition of any highway, road, street, alley,
             50      crosswalk, sidewalk, culvert, tunnel, bridge, viaduct, or other structure located on them;
             51          (17) a latent dangerous or latent defective condition of any public building, structure, dam,
             52      reservoir, or other public improvement;
             53          (18) the activities of:
             54          (a) providing emergency medical assistance;
             55          (b) fighting fire;
             56          (c) regulating, mitigating, or handling hazardous materials or hazardous wastes;
             57          (d) emergency evacuations; or
             58          (e) intervening during dam emergencies; or


             59          (19) the exercise or performance or the failure to exercise or perform any function pursuant
             60      to Title 73, Chapter 5a, Dam Safety, or Title 73, Chapter 10, Board of Water Resources - Division
             61      of Water Resources, which immunity is in addition to all other immunities granted by law.
             62          Section 2. Section 63-30-12 is amended to read:
             63           63-30-12. Claim against state or its employee -- Time for filing notice.
             64          A claim against the state, or against its employee for an act or omission occurring during
             65      the performance of the employee's duties, within the scope of employment, or under color of
             66      authority, is barred unless notice of claim is filed with the attorney general within [one year] two
             67      years after the claim arises, or before the expiration of any extension of time granted under Section
             68      63-30-11 , regardless of whether or not the function giving rise to the claim is characterized as
             69      governmental.
             70          Section 3. Section 63-30-34 is amended to read:
             71           63-30-34. Limitation of judgments against governmental entity or employee --
             72      Insurance coverage exception.
             73          (1) (a) [Except as provided in Subsection (2), if] If a judgment for general noneconomic
             74      damages for personal injury against a governmental entity, or an employee whom a governmental
             75      entity has a duty to indemnify, exceeds $250,000 for one person in any one occurrence, or
             76      $500,000 for two or more persons in any one occurrence, the court shall reduce the judgment for
             77      general noneconomic damages to that amount.
             78          (b) A court may not award judgment of more than $250,000 in general noneconomic
             79      damages for injury or death to one person regardless of whether or not the function giving rise to
             80      the injury is characterized as governmental.
             81          (c) Except as provided in Subsection (2), if a judgment for property damage against a
             82      governmental entity, or an employee whom a governmental entity has a duty to indemnify, exceeds
             83      $100,000 in any one occurrence, the court shall reduce the judgment to that amount, regardless of
             84      whether or not the function giving rise to the damage is characterized as governmental.
             85          (2) The damage limits established in this section do not apply to:
             86          (a) damages awarded as compensation when a governmental entity has taken or damaged
             87      private property for public use without just compensation[.]; or
             88          (b) awards for economic losses in personal injury or wrongful death cases.
             89          Section 4. Effective date.


             90          This act takes effect on July 1, 2001.




Legislative Review Note
    as of 12-9-99 1:17 PM



This legislation raises the following constitutional or statutory concerns: The Utah Supreme Court
in Condemarin v. University Hospital (1989) held the cap in the Governmental Immunity Act
unconstitutional. At that time the cap was at $100,000 for the entire claim. This bill raises that
cap significantly and also limits the cap to noneconomic damages. With these changes the statute
may withstand a constitutional attack.

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


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