Chapter 4.36
CLAIMS BY AND AGAINST THE COUNTY Revised 7/18

Sections:

4.36.010    Claims Against the County – Forms.

4.36.020    Claims against the County – Filing.

4.36.025    Actions for Damages Against the County.

4.36.030    Claims Against the County – Review and Forwarding.

4.36.040    Claims Against the County – Approval or Denial. Revised 7/18

4.36.050    Denial of Claims in Excess of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars.

4.36.060    Claims Against the County – Payment.

4.36.070    Claims Against the County – Statistics.

4.36.080    Claims Against the County – Disposition Record.

4.36.090    Claims By the County – Recordation and Authorization to Collect.

4.36.100    Health Care Services, Industrial Insurance and Workman's Compensation Audits.

4.36.110    Judgments in Excess of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars.

4.36.120    Reporting Time for Claims.

Cross-references:    Chapters 4.08, 4.96, 36.45 RCW; RCW 36.01.050, 36.22.040

4.36.010 Claims Against the County – Forms.

A.    All claims against Pierce County shall be submitted on forms provided by the Pierce County Finance Department and shall include the following information:

1.    Name of claimant;

2.    Date of incident;

3.    Amount of claim, if known;

4.    Nature of claim;

5.    County employee with knowledge of County's relationship to claim;

6.    County department having relationship to claim;

7.    If insured, when and how referred to insurer.

B.    The Finance Department shall assign County file numbers to all claims and keep copies of all claims for a minimum of six years, indexed in a manner designed to effectuate their easy retrieval.

(Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 84-44 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.02.010)

4.36.020 Claims Against the County – Filing.

All claims shall be filed with the Risk Management Division of the Finance Department. The Risk Management Division of the Finance Department shall refer a copy of each claim filed to the Prosecuting Attorney and the Clerk of the County Council for appropriate action. (Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 84-44 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.02.020)

4.36.025 Actions for Damages Against the County.

A.    No action shall be commenced against Pierce County in which monetary damages are being claimed until a written claim for damages has been presented to and filed with the Pierce County Finance Department in accordance with the terms of this Chapter.

B.    A lawsuit based upon the allegations of a claim for damages may not be instituted against Pierce County within 60 days of the filing of such claim, unless the applicable statute of limitations will expire within that period of time. The requirements of this Section shall not affect in any manner the commencement and running of any applicable statute of limitations.

(Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 89-228 § 1, 1990)

4.36.030 Claims Against the County – Review and Forwarding.

All claims shall be reviewed by the Risk Manager with regard to insurance coverage, and he shall forward the claims to the appropriate insurance carrier and/or carriers. (Ord. 87-44 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.02.030)

4.36.040 Claims Against the County – Approval or Denial. Revised 7/18

The Finance Department is authorized to investigate claims and shall promptly request the Prosecuting Attorney to provide an advisory opinion as to liability, which opinion shall be provided within 60 days after receipt of the claim. The Finance Department may deny claims and advise claimants of the denials except as provided in PCC 4.36.050. The Executive or designee may settle claims up to a maximum of $250,000.00 without the approval of the County Council; provided, however, that the Risk Manager shall report to the Council, on a quarterly basis, all outstanding claims, and settlements made, during the reporting period. All proposed settlements in excess of $250,000.00 shall be submitted by the Executive to the County Council for approval. (Ord. 2018-37 § 1, 2018; Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 2001-36 § 1 (part), 2001; Ord. 84-44 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.02.040)

4.36.050 Denial of Claims in Excess of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars.

All claims which the Risk Manager, Executive and/or Prosecuting Attorney believes are likely to require payment by the County of an amount in excess of $250,000.00, whether by settlement or litigation, shall be presented to the County Council in executive session prior to denying the claim, in whole or in part. (Ord. 2001-36 § 1 (part), 2001; Ord. 84-44 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.02.050)

4.36.060 Claims Against the County – Payment.

All claims approved by the County and/or Executive shall be sent to the Finance Department, and the Finance Department will direct that payment be made from an appropriate claim fund. (Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 84-44 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.02.060)

4.36.070 Claims Against the County – Statistics.

The Finance Department shall maintain statistical data on all claims of the County arising during the preceding month in such form as to conform with the requests of the liability insurance carriers. Copies of appropriate statistical data are to be sent to the liability insurance carriers and the Prosecuting Attorney on a monthly basis. Copies of the quarterly report showing the financial status of the self insurance loss paying fund shall be provided to the Council Fiscal Management Committee, the Prosecuting Attorney and the Executive. (Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 84-44 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.02.070)

4.36.080 Claims Against the County – Disposition Record.

When a claim has been fully disposed of, the disposition shall be recorded in the claim file. (Ord. 84-44 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.02.080)

4.36.090 Claims By the County – Recordation and Authorization to Collect.

All claims the County may have against its insurance carrier and/or carriers or against any other person shall be referred to the Finance Department. The Finance Department shall keep a register of such claims, indicating the following:

A.    The assigned Pierce County file number;

B.    Description of claim;

C.    Date of incident;

D.    County employee with knowledge of County's relationship to claim;

E.    Amount of claim, if known;

F.    County department having relationship to claim;

G.    Ultimate disposition of claim.

The Prosecuting Attorney is authorized to prosecute and collect all claims, either in contract or tort, and may institute actions in court for such purposes. The Finance Department shall assist in the prosecution and collection of these claims. Upon concurrence of the Prosecuting Attorney and the Finance Department, the Executive may settle a claim for an amount equal to $50,000.00 or less than the claimed amount. Approval of a majority of the County Council is required to settle a claim for an amount in excess of $50,000.00 less than the claimed amount.

(Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 84-44 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.02.090)

4.36.100 Health Care Services, Industrial Insurance and Workman's Compensation Audits.

The Risk Manager shall each year audit the loss experienced under any health care contracts to which the County is a party, including industrial insurance and workman's compensation. The audit will be conducted to determine the amount of money paid out by the contractors for categories for health care services in relation to the amount of premiums paid by the County to contractors. The summary of the audits shall be presented to the Council before its May meeting each year. (Ord. 84-44 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.02.100)

4.36.110 Judgments in Excess of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars.

In the event a judgment is entered against the County in an amount greater than $250,000.00, the Prosecuting Attorney and Executive shall appear before the Council in executive session and present the relevant facts regarding the claim; provided, that if the claim was presented to the Council prior to being denied, as set forth in Section 4.36.050, the presentation shall not be required. (Ord. 2001-36 § 1 (part), 2001; Ord. 84-44 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.02.110)

4.36.120 Reporting Time for Claims.

All incidents or occurrences known to County officials, officers, employees and volunteers, that may result in claims against the County, shall be reported immediately (not later than 24 hours) to the Finance Department on forms maintained by the Department. If such incident occurs on a weekend or holiday, it shall be reported as soon as the Finance Department Office is reopened for business. (Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 84-44 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 4.02.120)