335 Indemnification for Legal Liability
335.01 General Indemnifications
1. Section 17 (1) of the New York Public Officers Law providing indemnification for certain acts of State officers and employees, including members of the faculty, supervising staffs, and employees of the state-operated campus of SUNY, read as follows:
Section 17 "Indemnification of Officers and Employees of the State"
- (a) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires the term "employee" shall mean any person holding a position by election, appointment, or employment in the service of the State, whether compensated or not compensated or a volunteer expressly authorized to participate in a state-sponsored program, but shall not include an independent contractor. The term "employee" shall include a former employee, his estate or judicially appointed personal representative, and persons who assist the education department or the department of health as consultants or expert witnesses in the investigation or prosecution of alleged professional misconduct pursuant to Title Eight of the Education Law or Title II-A of the Public Health Law.
- Upon delivery, the Attorney General may assume control of the representation of such officer or employee. Such officer or employee shall cooperate fully with the Attorney General's defense.
- (a) The State shall indemnify and save harmless its employees in the amount of any judgment obtained against such employees in any State or federal court, or in the amount of any settlement of any claim, provided that the act or omission from which such judgment or settlement arose, occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his public employment or duties; the duty to indemnify and save harmless prescribed by this subdivision shall not arise where the injury or damage resulted from intentional wrongdoing or recklessness on the part of the employee.
- Section 17 extends protection to employees against personal liability if they are sued individually as a result of any action which may arise out of the scope of their employment, except as provided for in 3. (a) above.
335.02 Invocation of Protection
To invoke the protection of this statute, the employee must deliver immediately the original or a copy of any summons, complaint, process, notice, demand, or pleading with the request for representation under Section 17 of the Public Officers Law, to the Director of Human Resources. After review, the Director of Human Resources will forward the documents to the Office of the Attorney General. DOCUMENTS MUST BE SENT TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL WITHIN FIVE DAYS OF RECEIPT OF SERVICE.
335.03 Time Limitation
It is imperative that employees immediately deliver any summons, complaints, process, notice, demand, or pleading WITHIN THE FIVE DAY LIMIT.
335. 04 Notification to University Counsel
The Director of Human Resources, upon receipt of documents, will also send copies to the Office of University Counsel in SUNY Central Administration. In situations where the summons or notice must be answered immediately, Counsel's Office should be contacted by telephone so that it can deliver the necessary papers to the nearest regional office of the Attorney General.
335.05 Constitution of Negligence
The question of what constitutes negligence in cases where students request the use of facilities outside of scheduled class hours has arisen from time to time. Based on information from SUNY University Counsel, the following guidelines have been established:
- Power tools and dangerous chemicals are not to be made available to those who it is known are unskilled in their use without instruction and/or close supervision. Power tools are to be in proper working order and have the requisite guards or safety devices at all times.
- The department should satisfy themselves as to what facilities, equipment, and materials can be considered dangerous or hazardous and be guided accordingly.
- Whether supervisory negligence is involved in any accident will always be determined on the facts of the individual case and the decision will rest upon the degree of care reasonably required under the circumstances. Therefore, close supervision by those skilled in the uses and potentialities of dangerous equipment and materials is the best way to prevent liability.
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