Chapter 2.123
COUNTY INDEMNIFICATION OF LEGAL EXPENSES OF COUNTY ATTORNEYS IN PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS Revised 3/18

Sections:

2.123.010    Definitions.

2.123.020    Duty to Indemnify. Revised 3/18

2.123.030    Limit of Liability.

2.123.040    Selection of Attorney and Payment of Expenses. Revised 3/18

2.123.010 Definitions.

As used in this Chapter, the following terms have the meaning indicated unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

"Actual legal expenses" means all reasonable fees and expenses billed to the indemnitee by a licensed attorney other than the indemnitee for legal services rendered in the defense of a professional disciplinary proceeding.

"County attorney" means any attorney employed full-time by Pierce County, but does not include any special deputy prosecutor, temporary deputy prosecutor, member of the private bar appointed to represent an indigent criminal defendant, or other attorney who is not a regularly salaried employee of Pierce County.

"Indemnitee" means the individual County attorney protected by this Chapter.

"Professional disciplinary proceeding" means a proceeding before the Disciplinary Board of the Washington State Bar Association, Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel thereof, or other entity established by constitutional provision, statute, ordinance or court rule to investigate, review or impose disciplinary sanctions for misconduct of the indemnitee in the indemnitee's capacity as an attorney. Such proceedings which involve two or more entities shall be considered one professional disciplinary proceeding. (Ord. 2015-43 § 1 (part), 2015; Ord. 91-4 § 1 (part), 1991)

2.123.020 Duty to Indemnify. Revised 3/18

Subject to the provisions of this Chapter, if a committee consisting of the Prosecuting Attorney, the Director of the Assigned Counsel Department, and the Director of the Finance Department, or their respective designees (the Committee), determines that the alleged misconduct arose out of the County attorney's performance or good faith attempt to perform his or her official duties, Pierce County shall indemnify such County attorney for the actual legal expenses incurred by that County attorney in connection with the defense of a professional disciplinary proceeding, provided such indemnification shall not exceed $30,000 for each claim, and shall not exceed an aggregate of $90,000 for any such County attorney unless approved by the Council. The dollar limits set forth in this Chapter shall be adjusted annually by the same amount as the percentage change in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton area Consumer Price Index. (Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 2015-43 § 1 (part), 2015; Ord. 91-4 § 1 (part), 1991)

2.123.030 Limit of Liability.

The liability of Pierce County under this Chapter shall not exceed the lesser of $30,000 or the actual legal expense for each professional disciplinary proceeding, and the total liability of Pierce County to any individual County attorney shall never exceed the $90,000 aggregate unless approved by the Council. The dollar limits set forth in this Chapter shall be adjusted annually by the same amount as the percentage change in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton area Consumer Price Index. The bringing of professional disciplinary proceedings by more than one person shall not operate to increase the liability of Pierce County. Two or more professional disciplinary proceedings arising out of a single event or a series of related events shall be treated as a single disciplinary proceeding for purpose of determining the limit of liability under this Chapter. (Ord. 2015-43 § 1 (part), 2015; Ord. 91-4 § 1 (part), 1991)

2.123.040 Selection of Attorney and Payment of Expenses. Revised 3/18

The selection of an attorney to represent the indemnitee in a professional disciplinary proceeding shall be made by the indemnitee subject to the approval of the Committee prior to the occurrence of any actual legal expense. The indemnitee shall forward to the Committee an itemized statement from the attorney selected by the indemnitee which sets forth the actual legal expenses incurred on the indemnitee's behalf. After such statement is approved by the Committee, he/she shall forward same to the Finance Department for payment subject to the maximum limits established by this Chapter. (Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 2015-43 § 1 (part), 2015; Ord. 91-4 § 1 (part), 1991)