Chapter 2.120
COUNTY LIABILITY FOR OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES

Sections:

2.120.010    Duty to Defend.

2.120.020    Request of Defense.

2.120.030    Duty of County Officer, Employee or Volunteer.

2.120.040    Payment of Claims.

2.120.050    Determination of Scope of Employment.

2.120.060    Scope of Protection.

2.120.070    Application to Volunteers.

2.120.010 Duty to Defend.

A.    Pierce County agrees, as a condition of employment or acceptance of services to defend upon proper request, all civil claims or civil actions for damages brought or maintained against its officers, employees and/or volunteers arising out of the acts, errors or omissions in the performance or good faith attempt to perform, the official duties of said officer, employee or volunteer.

B.    For the purposes of this Chapter, "officers, employees and/or volunteers" includes the spouse of each such person if such spouse is made a party to an action for damages solely because of the existence of the marital community.

C.    The Pierce County Council may, in its discretion, provide for the defense of its officers or employees in a criminal action arising out of the acts, errors or omissions in the performance or good faith attempt to perform, the official duties of said officer or employee.

(Ord. 85-59 § 1, 1985; Ord. 84-57 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.03.010)

2.120.020 Request of Defense.

To properly request such a defense, the officer, employee or volunteer shall make written request of defense to the Risk Manager and to the Prosecuting Attorney within seven days of receipt of notice of the filing of said claim or action. The written request shall include the following:

A.    Identification of all Pierce County officers, employees and/or volunteers involved in the incident;

B.    Information regarding the time, place and circumstances of the incident;

C.    Names and addresses of all injured parties and known witnesses;

D.    Copies of every demand, notice, summons or other process relating to said incident received by the officer, employee, volunteer or his representative.

(Ord. 84-57 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.03.012)

2.120.030 Duty of County Officer, Employee or Volunteer.

A.    Upon a determination by the County Executive or Prosecuting Attorney, as set forth in PCC 2.120.050, that the alleged acts, errors or omissions of the officer, employee or volunteer did in fact arise out of the performance or good faith attempt to perform their official duties, the County shall commence its defense of the claim or action. However, the continuation of the defense shall be contingent upon the cooperation of the officer, employee or volunteer with the Risk Manager, Prosecuting Attorney, or their agents or designees. The officer, employee or volunteer shall:

1.    Assist in making settlements;

2.    Assist in the conduct of actions and enforcement of claims against any person or organization who may be liable, in whole or in part, for the loss arising out of the incident;

3.    Attend interviews, depositions, hearings and trials;

4.    Assist in securing and giving evidence and obtaining the attendance of witnesses.

B.    If the County agrees to defend said action, the officer, employee or volunteer shall not be required to make any payment, assume any legal obligation or incur any expense arising out of the defense or in settlement of the claim or action.

C.    In the event that any such officer, employee or volunteer fails or refuses to cooperate as specified above, or elects, without the consent of the Prosecuting Attorney, to provide his or her own legal representation with respect to the claim or action, the County shall have no duty to:

1.    Defend;

2.    Pay or reimburse for any costs incurred in the defense; or

3.    Pay or reimburse for any damages for which the officer, employee or volunteer becomes legally obligated.

(Ord. 84-57 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.03.014)

2.120.040 Payment of Claims.

The provisions of PCC 2.120.010 shall not modify existing procedures or requirements of law for processing and payment of claims, to which the County is a responsible party defendant; provided, that such claims, lawsuits and judgments against officers, employees or volunteers of the County shall be handled in all respects in the same manner as those in which a claim is filed or a lawsuit brought against the County. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Chapter, Pierce County shall have no duty to defend and/or pay any claims or actions against any County official, employee or volunteer arising out of the operation of a vehicle of said officer, employee or volunteer if said vehicle is neither owned nor leased by the County. (Ord. 84-57 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.03.020)

2.120.050 Determination of Scope of Employment.

The determination of whether said officer, employees or volunteers were acting or making a good faith attempt to act within the scope and course of their duties of employment by the County, shall be made by the Executive, or, in the case of any elected official of the County other than the Prosecuting Attorney, by the Prosecuting Attorney. (Ord. 84-57 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.03.030)

2.120.060 Scope of Protection.

The provisions contained in PCC 2.120.010 through 2.120.050 shall apply to claims and actions arising out of current or past accidents, events or occurrences that are not excluded by the provisions of this Code. (Ord. 84-57 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.03.040)

2.120.070 Application to Volunteers.

The provisions of PCC 2.120.010 through 2.120.050 shall apply to all volunteers who perform assigned or authorized duties for Pierce County when they are performing or making a good faith attempt to perform those assigned or authorized duties. (Ord. 84-57 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.03.050)