Chapter 2.11


2.11.010    Purpose.

2.11.020    Procedure for findings and determination and right of appeal.

2.11.030    Payment of defense costs and settlements.

2.11.040    Procedure for approval and payment of judgment.

2.11.050    Duties of employees.

2.11.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to make orderly provision for the legal and financial protection, as authorized by RCW 4.96.041, of all past and present employees, officers, agents, elected and appointed officials and volunteers (collectively and individually referred to in this chapter as “employee”) and their marital communities from personal liability and defense costs for acts or omissions committed by such persons while acting or in good faith purporting to act within the scope of their official County duties. (Ord. 9-1996 § 1)

2.11.020 Procedure for findings and determination and right of appeal.

The County council delegates the determination and making of the finding of whether the acts or omissions of the employee complained of were, or in good faith purported to be, within the scope of their official duties to the County prosecuting attorney with the concurrence of the County’s liability carrier. Where the claim is against the prosecuting attorney, his deputies or employees, the determination and findings are hereby delegated to the prosecuting attorney of an adjoining County selected by the majority of the County council which attorney shall also act with the concurrence of the County’s liability carrier. In the event the prosecuting attorney determines to grant a request for defense but the County’s liability carrier disagrees, the decision of the County prosecutor shall control and the County shall proceed to defend and indemnify the employee at its own expense. The prosecuting attorney shall promptly inform the employee, in writing, by delivery of the findings and determination, such findings and determination shall be sent by first class mail return receipt requested. If appropriate, the prosecuting attorney may make his or her findings and determination subject to reservation of rights. In the event a determination is made by a prosecuting attorney to deny a request for defense, the employee may appeal such determination to the County council by filing a written request for appeal within 10 days after receipt of the findings and determination. (Ord. 37-2007 § 2; Ord. 9-1996 § 2)

2.11.030 Payment of defense costs and settlements.

Pursuant to the authority granted by RCW 4.96.041 the County shall expend funds for the payment of necessary legal fees and costs of defense, settlements and judgments resulting from claims against such employee upon an appropriate finding and determination and to purchase insurance to cover such claims and expenses pursuant to the authority granted by RCW 36.16.136 and 36.16.138. (Ord. 9-1996 § 3)

2.11.040 Procedure for approval and payment of judgment.

Where a request for defense has been granted by appropriate findings and determination as provided in SJCC 2.11.020, and the judgment is covered by and within the limits of the insurance purchased by the County, payment by the liability carrier is hereby approved and any deductible shall be paid by the County on receipt of billing from the liability carrier. If insurance is unavailable, insufficient, or the judgment against the employee is for punitive damages, approval for payment of judgment, interest, costs, and attorney fees thereon shall be by resolution of a majority of the County council. (Ord. 37-2007 § 3; Ord. 9-1996 § 4)

2.11.050 Duties of employees.

Any past or present employee contacted or served with a claim, demand, summons or complaint shall immediately notify and deliver any documentation received to the County prosecuting attorney together with a request for defense. The employee shall cooperate with the County and its liability carrier and assist in the conduct of suits and in enforcing any right of contribution or indemnity and shall attend pre-trial hearings and trials and assist in securing and giving evidence and obtaining the attendance of witnesses. Except as specifically directed by the prosecuting attorney, no County officer or employee may engage in any of the following acts with respect to actions or proceedings for damages defended pursuant to this chapter:

1. Engage or retain legal counsel at County expense;

2. Negotiate or otherwise affect the settlement of such an action or proceeding for damages against the County;

3. Make an admission of liability involving such an action or proceeding for damages against the County; or

4. Discuss with persons who are not County employees or collective bargaining unit representatives, facts and circumstances of the claim. (Ord. 9-1996 § 5)