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H.B. 28

             1      S [

IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY IN CHILD

             2     
WELFARE INVESTIGATIONS ] GOVERNMENTAL IMMUNITY AMENDMENTS s

             3     
2002 GENERAL SESSION

             4     
STATE OF UTAH

             5     
Sponsor: Wayne A. Harper

             6      This act amends the Human Services Code S AND THE UTAH GOVERNMENTAL IMMUNITY ACT s . The
             6a      act provides that there is no immunity to
             7      governmental employee child welfare workers who act or fail to act through fraud or malice
             8      or who commit perjury. S THE ACT CLARIFIES PROVISIONS REGARDING THE EXCEPTION TO EMPLOYEE
             8a      IMMUNITY FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL. THE ACT PROVIDES AN EXCEPTION TO THE
             8b      IMMUNITY OF A GOVERNMENTAL EMPLOYEE FOR PERJURY. s
             9      This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
             10      AMENDS:
             11          62A-4a-410, as last amended by Chapter 302, Laws of Utah 1995
             11a      S 63-30-4, as last amended by Chapter 76, Laws of Utah 1991
             11b          63-30-36, as last amended by Chapter 76, Laws of Utah 1991 s
             12      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             13          Section 1. Section 62A-4a-410 is amended to read:
             14           62A-4a-410. Immunity from liability.
             15          (1) Any person, official, or institution participating in good faith in making a report, taking
             16      photographs or X-rays, assisting an investigator from the division, serving as a member of a child
             17      protection team, or taking a child into protective custody pursuant to this part, is immune from any
             18      liability, civil or criminal, that otherwise might result by reason of those actions.
             19          (2) This section does not provide immunity with respect to acts or omissions of a
             20      governmental employee S [ if it is established S THROUGH AN ADMINISTRATIVE DUE PROCESS
             20a      HEARING, AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 67-19a-406, OR A DISTRICT COURT PROCEEDING s

             20b      that:
             21          (a) the employee acted or failed to act under Subsection (1) through fraud or malice, in
             22      accordance with Subsections 63-30-4 (3)(b) or (4); or
             23          (b) in a judicial or administrative proceeding the employee intentionally or knowingly
] s


             24      S [ gave, upon a lawful oath or in any form allowed by law as a substitute for an oath, false
             24a      testimony
             25      material to the issue or matter of inquiry under Subsection (1).
] EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN TITLE 63,

             25a      CHAPTER 30, UTAH GOVERNMENTAL IMMUNITY ACT.
             25b      Section 2. Section 63-30-36 is amended to read:
             25c          63-30-4.   Act provisions not construed as admission or denial of liability -- Effect of waiver of
             25d      immunity -- Exclusive remedy -- Joinder of employee -- Limitations on personal liability.
             25e          (1) (a) Nothing contained in this chapter, unless specifically provided, may be construed as an
             25f      admission or denial of liability or responsibility by or for governmental entities or their employees.
             25g          (b) If immunity from suit is waived by this chapter, consent to be sued is granted, and liability
             25h      of the entity shall be determined as if the entity were a private person.
             25i          (c) No cause of action or basis of liability is created by any waiver of immunity in this chapter,
             25j      nor may any provision of this chapter be construed as imposing strict liability or absolute liability.
             25k          (2) Nothing in this chapter may be construed as adversely affecting any immunity from suit
             25l      that a governmental entity or employee may otherwise assert under state or federal law.
             25m          (3) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (3)(b), an action under this chapter against a
             25n      governmental entity or its employee for an injury caused by an act or omission that occurs during the
             25o      performance of the employee's duties, within the scope of employment, or under color of authority is
             25p      a plaintiff's exclusive remedy.
             25q          (b) A plaintiff may not bring or pursue any other civil action or proceeding based upon the
             25r      same subject matter against the employee or the estate of the employee whose act or omission gave
             25s      rise to the claim, unless:
             25t          (i) the employee acted or failed to act through fraud or malice; [or]
             25u          (ii) the injury or damage resulted from the conditions set forth in Subsection 63-30-36 (3)(c)[.];
             25v      OR
             25w          (iii) IN A JUDICIAL OR ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDING THE EMPLOYEE INTENTIONALLY OR
             25x      KNOWINGLY GAVE, UPON A LAWFUL OATH OR IN ANY FORM ALLOWED BY LAW AS A SUBSTITUTE
             25y      FOR AN OATH, FALSE TESTIMONY MATERIAL TO THE ISSUE OR MATTER OF INQUIRY UNDER THIS
             25z      SECTION.
             25aa          (4) An employee may be joined in an action against a governmental entity in a representative
             25ab      capacity if the act or omission complained of is one for which the governmental entity may be liable,
             25ac      but no employee may be held personally liable for acts or omissions occurring during the
             25ad      performance of the employee's duties, within the scope of employment, or under color of authority,
             25ae      unless it is established that:
             25af          (a) the employee acted or failed to act due to fraud or malice[.];
             25ag          (b) THE INJURY OR DAMAGE RESULTED FROM THE CONDITIONS SET FORTH IN
             25ah      SUBSECTION 63-30-36(3)(c); OR
             25ai          (c) IN A JUDICIAL OR ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDING THE EMPLOYEE INTENTIONALLY OR
             25aj      KNOWINGLY GAVE, UPON A LAWFUL OATH OR IN ANY FORM ALLOWED BY LAW AS A SUBSTITUTE
             25ak      FOR AN OATH, FALSE TESTIMONY MATERIAL TO THE ISSUE OR MATTER OF INQUIRY UNDER THIS
             25al      SECTION.
             25am          Section 3. Section 63-30-36 is amended to read:
             25an          63-30-36.   Defending government employee -- Request -- Cooperation -- Payment of judgment. s


             25ao          S (1) Except as provided in Subsections (2) and (3), a governmental entity shall defend
             25ap      any action brought against its employee arising from an act or omission occurring:

             25aq          (a) during the performance of the employee's duties;
             25ar          (b) within the scope of the employee's employment; or
             25as          (c) under color of authority.
             25at          (2) (a) Before a governmental entity may defend its employee against a claim, the employee
             25au      shall make a written request to the governmental entity to defend him:
             25av          (i) within ten days after service of process upon him; or
             25aw          (ii) within a longer period that would not prejudice the governmental entity in maintaining a
             25ax      defense on his behalf; or
             25ay          (iii) within a period that would not conflict with notice requirements imposed on the entity in
             25az      connection with insurance carried by the entity relating to the risk involved.
             25ba          (b) If the employee fails to make a request, or fails to reasonably cooperate in the defense, the
             25bb      governmental entity need not defend or continue to defend the employee, nor pay any judgment,
             25bc      compromise, or settlement against the employee in respect to the claim.
             25bd          (3) The governmental entity may decline to defend, or subject to any court rule or order,
             25be      decline to continue to defend, an action against an employee if it determines:
             25bf          (a) that the act or omission in question did not occur:
             25bg          (i) during the performance of the employee's duties;
             25bh          (ii) within the scope of his employment; or
             25bi          (iii) under color of authority;
             25bj          (b) that the injury or damage resulted from the fraud or malice of the employee; or
             25bk          (c) that the injury or damage on which the claim was based resulted from:
             25bl          (i) the employee driving a vehicle, or being in actual physical control of a vehicle:
             25bm          (A) with a blood alcohol content equal to or greater by weight than the established legal limit;
             25bn          (B) while under the influence of alcohol or any drug to a degree that rendered the person
             25bo      incapable of safely driving the vehicle; or
             25bp          (C) while under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that rendered the
             25bq      person incapable of safely driving the vehicle; or
             25br          (ii) the employee being physically or mentally impaired so as to be unable to reasonably
             25bs      perform his job function because of the use of alcohol, because of the nonprescribed use of a
             25bt      controlled substance as defined in Section 58-37-4, or because of the combined influence of alcohol
             25bu      and a nonprescribed controlled substance as defined by Section 58-37-4[.]; OR
             25bv          (d) THAT IN A JUDICIAL OR ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDING THE EMPLOYEE
             25bw      INTENTIONALLY OR KNOWINGLY GAVE, UPON A LAWFUL OATH OR IN ANY FORM ALLOWED BY
             25bx      LAW AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR AN OATH, FALSE TESTIMONY TO THE ISSUE OR MATTER OF INQUIRY
             25by      UNDER THIS SECTION.
             25bz          (4) (a) Within ten days of receiving a written request to defend an employee, the governmental
             25ca      entity shall inform the employee whether or not it shall provide a defense, and, if it refuses to provide
             25cb      a defense, the basis for its refusal.
             25cc          (b) A refusal by the entity to provide a defense is not admissible for any purpose in the action
             25cd      in which the employee is a defendant.
             25ce          (5) Except as provided in Subsection (6), if a governmental entity conducts the defense of an
             25cf      employee, the governmental entity shall pay any judgment based upon the claim. s


             25cg          S (6) A governmental entity may conduct the defense of an employee under a reservation of
             25ch      rights under which the governmental entity reserves the right not to pay a judgment, if the conditions
             25ci      set forth in Subsection (3) are established.
             25cj          (7) (a) Nothing in this section or Section 63-30-37 affects the obligation of a governmental
             25ck      entity to provide insurance coverage according to the requirements of Subsection 41-12a-301 (3) and
             25cl      Section 63-30-29.5.
             25cm          (b) When a governmental entity declines to defend, or declines to continue to defend, an
             25cn      action against its employee under the conditions set forth in Subsection (3), it shall still provide
             25co      coverage up to the amount specified in Sections 31A-22-304 and 63-30-29.5. s






Legislative Review Note
    as of 11-14-01 4:07 PM


A limited legal review of this legislation raises no obvious constitutional or statutory concerns.

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


Committee Note

The Health and Human Services Interim Committee recommended this bill.


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