Chapter 1.05
CLAIMS AGAINST THE COUNTY

Sections:

1.05.010    Authority.

1.05.020    Purpose.

1.05.030    Scope.

1.05.040    Requirements to bring suit.

1.05.050    Time limitation.

1.05.060    Late filing of claims.

1.05.070    Claim form.

1.05.080    Auditor’s duties.

1.05.090    Time for action by County officers and claimant.

1.05.100    Reexamination of rejected claims.

1.05.110    Contract claims.

1.05.120    Waiver of waiting period.

1.05.130    Action on liability claims.

1.05.140    Action on workers’ compensation claims.

1.05.150    Action on special education claims.

1.05.010 Authority.

This chapter is adopted pursuant to and in conformity with Sections 905, 930.2, 935 and 29700 et seq. of the California Government Code. [Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.020 Purpose.

The purposes of this chapter are to allow the County of Santa Cruz to make a timely investigation of the facts on which a claim is based so as to have an opportunity to settle just claims before suit is brought, defend itself against unjust claims, and correct promptly any conditions or practices which gave rise to claims. [Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.030 Scope.

All claims against the County of Santa Cruz for money or damages which are excepted by Section 905 of the Government Code from the claims procedure provided by Part 3 of Division 3.6, Title 1 of the Government Code and which are not expressly governed by any other statute or regulation shall be governed by this chapter. [Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.040 Requirements to bring suit.

No suit for money or damages may be brought against the County on a cause of action for which this chapter requires a claim to be presented until a written claim therefor has been filed in conformity with this chapter. Only the person who filed the claim may bring such a suit. [Ord. 4397 § 1, 1996; Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.050 Time limitation.

The claim for any cause of action specified in SCCC 1.05.030 shall be presented in the manner provided in SCCC 1.05.070 as applicable and shall be presented and processed as provided by Chapters 1 and 2 of Part 3 of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code insofar as said provisions are not in conflict with this chapter. A claim relating to a cause of action for death or for injury to person or to personal property or growing crops shall be presented not later than six months after accrual of the cause of action. A claim relating to any other cause of action shall be presented not later than one year after the accrual of the cause of action. Each claim shall be verified by the person who claims to be entitled to be paid the money or damages or by his or her guardian, conservator, executor or administrator. [Ord. 4397 § 2, 1996; Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.060 Late filing of claims.

In accordance with Section 935 of the Government Code, the late filing of claims pursuant to this chapter is regulated by Sections 911.4 to 912.2, inclusive, of the Government Code. [Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.070 Claim form.

Claims under this chapter shall be filed as specified in this section:

(A)    Any claim for salaries and wages of County officers and employees shall be presented to the Auditor in the number and on the forms prescribed by the Auditor. The claim shall be certified by the head of the department or office in which the officer or employee is employed.

(B)    Any claim for mileage, travel and other expenses of County employees shall be presented to the Auditor on forms prescribed by the Auditor. The claim shall be signed by the claimant and certified by the head of the department or office whose appropriations are charged with the expenditure.

(C)    Any claim for transportation of County officers or employees, wards, prisoners or other authorized persons, payable to public carriers, shall be presented to the Auditor on forms prescribed by the Auditor. The claims shall be certified by the officer whose appropriations are charged with the expenditure.

(D)    Any claim for public assistance under any law under which the County administers such assistance shall be presented to the Auditor on forms prescribed by the Auditor. Other than for modifications, the Auditor may prescribe a procedure eliminating the filing of claims for routine or repetitive public assistance benefits. The claims shall be certified by the officer directing the expenditure. Where the form or forms prescribed by the Auditor require the signature of the claimant and/or the recipient, either or both signatures may be waived at the discretion of the Auditor.

(E)    Any claim for public assistance under Section 987(a) of the Penal Code or other statute providing for counsel for persons not financially able to employ counsel shall be presented to the Auditor on forms prescribed by the Auditor. The claims shall be signed by the claimants and certified by a judge of the court in which the services were performed that the counsel services were unable to be provided under any existing County contract for indigent legal services due to a conflict of interest and that the amount of the claim is reasonable.

(F)    Any claim for principal or interest shall be based solely upon presentation of the matured bond, interest coupon, or other evidences of indebtedness.

(G)    Any claim by the State or a department or agency of or by another public entity relating to a cause of action for death or for injury to person or to personal property or growing crops shall be presented to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors. Any other claim by the State or a department or agency thereof or by another public entity shall be presented to the Auditor on forms prescribed by the Auditor and such claim shall be certified by the officer directing the expenditure, where appropriate.

(H)    Any claim for money or damages for loss or damage to personal property entrusted to the care and custody of a County officer or employee as a result of such claimant’s confinement in any County facility and for which existing public liability and property damage insurance policies of the County do not otherwise cover, shall be filed with the clerk of the Board of Supervisors.

(I)    Any claim for money or benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Law (Division 4 of the Labor Code and Title 8 of the California Administrative Code) shall be presented to the Risk Manager on forms prescribed by the Division of Industrial Accidents or by the Risk Manager.

(J)    Wherever in this section certification of a claim is required to be made by the head of a department or office, it shall be deemed to include certification by his designated subordinate; wherever in this section certification is required on a claim, the claimant shall present the claim to the designated officer for certification before presentation to the Auditor or Risk Manager, but if within 10 days after presentation to such officer the officer has failed or refused to certify the claim, the claimant may present the uncertified claim to the Auditor or Risk Manager including thereon an appropriate notation showing presentation to the designated officer and his failure or refusal to certify.

(K)    As an alternative procedure to that specified in this section for the filing of any of the foregoing claims, any claimant of a claim under this chapter may file such claim with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors on the form provided by the Auditor or Risk Manager but need not obtain certification of the claim prior to such filing.

(L)    Whenever as prescribed in subsection (A) of this section certification of a claim is required to be made by the head of a department or office for salaries and wages of County officers and employees and a state of extreme emergency, state of disaster, or state of local disaster exists as defined in Chapter 2.26 SCCC, including an emergency resulting from a labor controversy, during the period of such state of extreme emergency, state of disaster, or state of local disaster, including an emergency resulting from a labor controversy, it will be presumed in absence of receipt by the Auditor of information to the contrary that no change in the payroll status of the County officers and employees in the department or office has occurred and that work by the officers and employees has been performed during normal working hours. In such event salaries and wages of such County officers and employees may be paid without a certification of a claim from the head of the department or office as otherwise provided. Any amounts paid in excess of salaries and wages due and owing to such County officers and employees by reason of this provision shall be recovered by the County from such County officers and employees in the same manner as other overpayments for salaries and wages are recovered.

(M)    Whenever, as prescribed in subsection (D) of this section, certification of a claim is required to be made by the Director of the Human Resources Agency for public assistance under any law under which the County administers such assistance and a state of extreme emergency, state of disaster, or state of local disaster exists as defined in Chapter 2.26 SCCC, including an emergency resulting from a labor controversy, during the period of such state of extreme emergency, state of disaster or state of local disaster, including an emergency resulting from a labor controversy, it will be presumed in the absence of receipt by the Auditor of information to the contrary that no change in status of routine or repetitive public assistance benefits has occurred and that such routine or repetitive public assistance benefits are the same as those paid for the period immediately preceding the state of extreme emergency, state of disaster, state of local disaster, or emergency resulting from a labor controversy. In such event, routine or repetitive public assistance benefits may be paid without a certification of a claim by the Director of the Human Resources Agency. Any amounts paid in excess of the public assistance benefits due and owing to persons receiving such benefits by reason of this provision shall be recovered in accordance with rules and regulations of the County and the State Department of Social Welfare applicable to overpayment of public assistance. [Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.080 Auditor’s duties.

The Auditor shall audit and allow or reject claims presented to the Auditor under SCCC 1.05.070(A) through (F) in lieu of and with the same effect as allowance or rejection by the Board. [Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.090 Time for action by County officers and claimant.

The Auditor, Risk Manager, or Board of Supervisors shall act upon any claim filed pursuant to this chapter within the time prescribed by Section 912.4 of the Government Code and in the manner prescribed by Section 912.6 of that code for action by a board, and the failure or refusal of the Auditor, Risk Manager, or Board of Supervisors to act on a claim shall be the effect stipulated in said Section 912.4. Any action brought by the claimant in the cause of action set forth in any claim filed pursuant to this chapter shall be brought within the time specified in Section 945.6 of the Government Code. [Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.100 Reexamination of rejected claims.

The Auditor, Risk Manager, or Board of Supervisors may, in their discretion, within the time prescribed by Section 945.6 of the Government Code for commencing an action on the claim, reexamine a previously rejected claim within their jurisdiction in order to consider settlement of the claim in accordance with Section 913.2 of the Government Code. [Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.110 Contract claims.

In accordance with the authorization granted by Section 930.2 of the Government Code, the following procedure may be made applicable to the presentation and processing of claims arising out of or relating to contracts and agreements to which the County is a party.

(A)    Time Limitation. A claim under this chapter based upon the accrual of a cause of action arising from a purchase order or other agreement of the County shall be presented in the manner provided in subsections (B) and (C) of this section not later than one year after the accrual of the cause of action. For the purpose of computing the time limit prescribed by this section the date of accrual of a cause of action which is the subject matter of a claim is the date upon which the cause of action accrued within the meaning of the applicable statute of limitations, as defined by Section 901 of the Government Code.

(B)    Claim Form—Purchase Order Claims. The presentation of claims for materials or services furnished in compliance with purchase orders issued by the County shall be as follows:

(1)    The claimant shall file one copy of his invoice with the Auditor, Room 100, County Governmental Center, Santa Cruz, California 95060.

(2)    The invoice shall show the following:

(a)    The date service was rendered or materials furnished;

(b)    The purchase order reference under which the materials or services were furnished;

(c)    The claimant’s name and post office address to which the remittance is to be mailed;

(d)    A detail of the items invoiced, the unit price, sales tax where applicable, and the total amount claimed.

(3)    The Auditor shall, prior to payment of the invoice, secure the certification of the ordering department of receipt of goods in compliance with the purchase order.

(C)    Claim Form—Agreements Other Than Purchase Orders. If the claim is based upon an agreement other than a purchase order, the claim shall be completed by the claimant by filling in all applicable blanks and shall be presented by the claimant to the Auditor or to the officer or agent to whom the Board has given responsibility for administrative supervision of the contract performance in triplicate, on forms furnished or approved by the Auditor. A claim may be filed by mail but will not be deemed filed unless and until its actual receipt by the Auditor or other authorized officer or agent. The Auditor shall secure certification of performance by the administering officer or agent prior to the payment of the claim.

(D)    Action on Contract Claims. If the claim is based upon a purchase order or if the claim is based upon a contract other than a purchase order, it shall be acted upon by the Auditor within the time prescribed by Section 912.4 and in the manner prescribed by Section 912.6 of the Government Code for action by the board of a local public entity. Should the Auditor fail or refuse to act upon the claim, his failure or refusal shall have the effect of the failure or refusal of a board to act as specified in said Section 912.4. Any action brought by the claimant on the cause of action set forth in the claim shall be brought within the time specified in Section 945.6 of the Government Code. Should the Auditor reject any claim in whole or in part, he shall promptly report in writing thereon to the Board. Any claim which is not within the authority of the Auditor to allow under the provisions of Article 2 of Chapter 4, Division 3, Title 3 of the Government Code (commencing with Section 29740) shall not be acted upon by the Auditor but shall be verified for mathematical errors by the Auditor, preaudited and referred to the Board for action. Sections 911.4 to 912.2 of the Government Code shall apply to all claims under this section.

(E)    Action on Certain Car Rental Agreement Claims. Notwithstanding subsections (B), (C) and (D) of this section, claims for damages to rental cars under contracts or agreements with the County where collision damage waivers are declined shall be administered by the Risk Manager, subject to the same settlement authority authorized for settlement of tort liability claims under SCCC 1.05.130. [Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.120 Waiver of waiting period.

The three-day waiting periods prescribed by Sections 29701 and 29742 of the Government Code for consideration of claims and issuance of warrants may be waived by the Auditor on any claims against the County of Santa Cruz for money or damages. [Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.130 Action on liability claims.

(A)    All tort liability claims required to be presented to the County of Santa Cruz under the provisions of the California Tort Claims Act of 1964 (Government Code Section 810, et seq.) or this chapter shall be filed with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.

(B)    The Personnel Director or his/her designee of the County of Santa Cruz is authorized to allow, compromise or settle any tort liability claim or other claim for damages or any legal action for damages that is filed against the County of Santa Cruz, its officers or employees; provided:

(1)    The amount to be paid pursuant to such allowance, compromise or settlement, does not exceed $15,000 and the allowance, compromise or settlement is approved by County Counsel; or the amount to be paid is greater than $15,000, but less than $25,000 and the allowance, compromise or settlement is approved by the County Counsel and the County Administrative Officer. If the amount to be paid exceeds $25,000, the allowance, compromise or settlement must be approved by the Board of Supervisors;

(2)    The claim or action is not subject to the terms of an insurance policy wherein the insurer is granted the authority to allow, deny, compromise or settle claims or actions within the scope of such policy.

(C)    In all claims or actions that are allowed, compromised or settled, the Auditor-Controller will be responsible upon written order of the County Counsel, and in accordance with the terms of such allowance, compromise or settlement, to cause the necessary warrant to be issued upon the Treasury of the County of Santa Cruz in any amount for which such tort liability claim or action has been allowed, compromised or settled pursuant to this section. [Ord. 4824 § 1, 2006; Ord. 4395 § 1, 1995; Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.140 Action on workers’ compensation claims.

(A)    All County employees making a claim for workers’ compensation benefits under the provisions of Division 4 (commencing with Section 3200) of the Labor Code shall file such claims with the Risk Manager, or the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board pursuant to Division 4, Chapter 3 of the Labor Code and Title 8, Administrative Code, Section 10400.

(B)    The Risk Manager of the County of Santa Cruz is authorized to allow, compromise or settle any workers’ compensation claim or case that is filed against the County of Santa Cruz; provided:

(1)    The amount to be paid pursuant to such allowance, compromise or settlement does not exceed $15,000;

(2)    The claim or action is for benefits as defined under the Workers’ Compensation Laws of the State;

(3)    The claim or action is not subject to the terms of an insurance policy wherein the insurer is granted the authority to allow, deny, compromise or settle claims or actions within the scope of such policy; and

(4)    Any such compromise or settlement is approved by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB).

(C)    In all workers’ compensation claims or actions that are allowed, compromised or settled, the County’s workers’ compensation claims administrator shall, upon order from the Risk Manager, cause the necessary check to be issued from the County’s workers’ compensation trust account in an amount for which any workers’ compensation claim or action has been allowed, compromised or settled and approved by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). [Ord. 4824 § 2, 2006; Ord. 3977 § 1, 1989].

1.05.150 Action on special education claims.

(A)    This section shall govern the settlement or compromise of any request for mental health related special education services, and related legal proceeding, under the provisions of the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the California Special Education Programs, Education Code Sections 5600, et seq., or Government Code Section 7570, et seq.

(B)    The health services agency director of the County of Santa Cruz is authorized to compromise or settle any claim or legal proceeding for mental health related special education services, made against the County of Santa Cruz, which complies with each of the following provisions:

(1)    The amount to be paid pursuant to such compromise or settlement does not exceed $10,000. If the amount to be paid exceeds $10,000, the compromise or settlement must be approved by the Board of Supervisors;

(2)    The claim or action is not subject to the terms of an insurance policy wherein the insurer is granted the authority to allow, deny, compromise or settle claims or actions within the scope of such policy;

(3)    The compromise or settlement is approved by the County Counsel.

(C)    In all requests or proceedings that are compromised or settled, the Health Services Agency Administrator shall be responsible, upon written order of the County Counsel, and in accordance with the terms of such compromise or settlement, to cause the necessary warrant to be issued upon the appropriate mental health budget account of the County of Santa Cruz in the amount for which such mental health related special education services request or proceeding has been compromised or settled pursuant to this section. [Ord. 4824 § 3, 2006].