US (United States) Code. Title 42. Chapter 139: Volunteer protection

Codificación normativa de EEUU (Estados Unidos). Legislación federal estadounidense # The Public Health and Welfare

  • Enviado por: El remitente no desea revelar su nombre
  • Idioma: inglés
  • País: Estados Unidos Estados Unidos
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-CITE-

42 USC CHAPTER 139 - VOLUNTEER PROTECTION 01/06/03

-EXPCITE-

TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 139 - VOLUNTEER PROTECTION

-HEAD-

CHAPTER 139 - VOLUNTEER PROTECTION

-MISC1-

Sec.

14501. Findings and purpose.

(a) Findings.

(b) Purpose.

14502. Preemption and election of State nonapplicability.

(a) Preemption.

(b) Election of State regarding nonapplicability.

14503. Limitation on liability for volunteers.

(a) Liability protection for volunteers.

(b) Concerning responsibility of volunteers to

organizations and entities.

(c) No effect on liability of organization or

entity.

(d) Exceptions to volunteer liability protection.

(e) Limitation on punitive damages based on actions

of volunteers.

(f) Exceptions to limitations on liability.

14504. Liability for noneconomic loss.

(a) General rule.

(b) Amount of liability.

14505. Definitions.

-End-

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42 USC Sec. 14501 01/06/03

-EXPCITE-

TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 139 - VOLUNTEER PROTECTION

-HEAD-

Sec. 14501. Findings and purpose

-STATUTE-

(a) Findings

The Congress finds and declares that -

(1) the willingness of volunteers to offer their services is

deterred by the potential for liability actions against them;

(2) as a result, many nonprofit public and private

organizations and governmental entities, including voluntary

associations, social service agencies, educational institutions,

and other civic programs, have been adversely affected by the

withdrawal of volunteers from boards of directors and service in

other capacities;

(3) the contribution of these programs to their communities is

thereby diminished, resulting in fewer and higher cost programs

than would be obtainable if volunteers were participating;

(4) because Federal funds are expended on useful and

cost-effective social service programs, many of which are

national in scope, depend heavily on volunteer participation, and

represent some of the most successful public-private

partnerships, protection of volunteerism through clarification

and limitation of the personal liability risks assumed by the

volunteer in connection with such participation is an appropriate

subject for Federal legislation;

(5) services and goods provided by volunteers and nonprofit

organizations would often otherwise be provided by private

entities that operate in interstate commerce;

(6) due to high liability costs and unwarranted litigation

costs, volunteers and nonprofit organizations face higher costs

in purchasing insurance, through interstate insurance markets, to

cover their activities; and

(7) clarifying and limiting the liability risk assumed by

volunteers is an appropriate subject for Federal legislation

because -

(A) of the national scope of the problems created by the

legitimate fears of volunteers about frivolous, arbitrary, or

capricious lawsuits;

(B) the citizens of the United States depend on, and the

Federal Government expends funds on, and provides tax

exemptions and other consideration to, numerous social programs

that depend on the services of volunteers;

(C) it is in the interest of the Federal Government to

encourage the continued operation of volunteer service

organizations and contributions of volunteers because the

Federal Government lacks the capacity to carry out all of the

services provided by such organizations and volunteers; and

(D)(i) liability reform for volunteers, will promote the free

flow of goods and services, lessen burdens on interstate

commerce and uphold constitutionally protected due process

rights; and

(ii) therefore, liability reform is an appropriate use of the

powers contained in article 1, section 8, clause 3 of the

United States Constitution, and the fourteenth amendment to the

United States Constitution.

(b) Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to promote the interests of social

service program beneficiaries and taxpayers and to sustain the

availability of programs, nonprofit organizations, and governmental

entities that depend on volunteer contributions by reforming the

laws to provide certain protections from liability abuses related

to volunteers serving nonprofit organizations and governmental

entities.

-SOURCE-

(Pub. L. 105-19, Sec. 2, June 18, 1997, 111 Stat. 218.)

-MISC1-

EFFECTIVE DATE

Section 7 of Pub. L. 105-19 provided that:

"(a) In General. - This Act [enacting this chapter] shall take

effect 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act [June 18,

1997].

"(b) Application. - This Act applies to any claim for harm caused

by an act or omission of a volunteer where that claim is filed on

or after the effective date of this Act but only if the harm that

is the subject of the claim or the conduct that caused such harm

occurred after such effective date."

SHORT TITLE

Section 1 of Pub. L. 105-19 provided that: "This Act [enacting

this chapter] may be cited as the 'Volunteer Protection Act of

1997'."

-End-

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42 USC Sec. 14502 01/06/03

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TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 139 - VOLUNTEER PROTECTION

-HEAD-

Sec. 14502. Preemption and election of State nonapplicability

-STATUTE-

(a) Preemption

This chapter preempts the laws of any State to the extent that

such laws are inconsistent with this chapter, except that this

chapter shall not preempt any State law that provides additional

protection from liability relating to volunteers or to any category

of volunteers in the performance of services for a nonprofit

organization or governmental entity.

(b) Election of State regarding nonapplicability

This chapter shall not apply to any civil action in a State court

against a volunteer in which all parties are citizens of the State

if such State enacts a statute in accordance with State

requirements for enacting legislation -

(1) citing the authority of this subsection;

(2) declaring the election of such State that this chapter

shall not apply, as of a date certain, to such civil action in

the State; and

(3) containing no other provisions.

-SOURCE-

(Pub. L. 105-19, Sec. 3, June 18, 1997, 111 Stat. 219.)

-End-

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42 USC Sec. 14503 01/06/03

-EXPCITE-

TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 139 - VOLUNTEER PROTECTION

-HEAD-

Sec. 14503. Limitation on liability for volunteers

-STATUTE-

(a) Liability protection for volunteers

Except as provided in subsections (b) and (d) of this section, no

volunteer of a nonprofit organization or governmental entity shall

be liable for harm caused by an act or omission of the volunteer on

behalf of the organization or entity if -

(1) the volunteer was acting within the scope of the

volunteer's responsibilities in the nonprofit organization or

governmental entity at the time of the act or omission;

(2) if appropriate or required, the volunteer was properly

licensed, certified, or authorized by the appropriate authorities

for the activities or practice in the State in which the harm

occurred, where the activities were or practice was undertaken

within the scope of the volunteer's responsibilities in the

nonprofit organization or governmental entity;

(3) the harm was not caused by willful or criminal misconduct,

gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant

indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed by

the volunteer; and

(4) the harm was not caused by the volunteer operating a motor

vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or other vehicle for which the State

requires the operator or the owner of the vehicle, craft, or

vessel to -

(A) possess an operator's license; or

(B) maintain insurance.

(b) Concerning responsibility of volunteers to organizations and

entities

Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect any civil

action brought by any nonprofit organization or any governmental

entity against any volunteer of such organization or entity.

(c) No effect on liability of organization or entity

Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the

liability of any nonprofit organization or governmental entity with

respect to harm caused to any person.

(d) Exceptions to volunteer liability protection

If the laws of a State limit volunteer liability subject to one

or more of the following conditions, such conditions shall not be

construed as inconsistent with this section:

(1) A State law that requires a nonprofit organization or

governmental entity to adhere to risk management procedures,

including mandatory training of volunteers.

(2) A State law that makes the organization or entity liable

for the acts or omissions of its volunteers to the same extent as

an employer is liable for the acts or omissions of its employees.

(3) A State law that makes a limitation of liability

inapplicable if the civil action was brought by an officer of a

State or local government pursuant to State or local law.

(4) A State law that makes a limitation of liability applicable

only if the nonprofit organization or governmental entity

provides a financially secure source of recovery for individuals

who suffer harm as a result of actions taken by a volunteer on

behalf of the organization or entity. A financially secure source

of recovery may be an insurance policy within specified limits,

comparable coverage from a risk pooling mechanism, equivalent

assets, or alternative arrangements that satisfy the State that

the organization or entity will be able to pay for losses up to a

specified amount. Separate standards for different types of

liability exposure may be specified.

(e) Limitation on punitive damages based on actions of volunteers

(1) General rule

Punitive damages may not be awarded against a volunteer in an

action brought for harm based on the action of a volunteer acting

within the scope of the volunteer's responsibilities to a

nonprofit organization or governmental entity unless the claimant

establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the harm was

proximately caused by an action of such volunteer which

constitutes willful or criminal misconduct, or a conscious,

flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual

harmed.

(2) Construction

Paragraph (1) does not create a cause of action for punitive

damages and does not preempt or supersede any Federal or State

law to the extent that such law would further limit the award of

punitive damages.

(f) Exceptions to limitations on liability

(1) In general

The limitations on the liability of a volunteer under this

chapter shall not apply to any misconduct that -

(A) constitutes a crime of violence (as that term is defined

in section 16 of title 18) or act of international terrorism

(as that term is defined in section 2331 of title 18) for which

the defendant has been convicted in any court;

(B) constitutes a hate crime (as that term is used in the

Hate Crime Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. 534 note));

(C) involves a sexual offense, as defined by applicable State

law, for which the defendant has been convicted in any court;

(D) involves misconduct for which the defendant has been

found to have violated a Federal or State civil rights law; or

(E) where the defendant was under the influence (as

determined pursuant to applicable State law) of intoxicating

alcohol or any drug at the time of the misconduct.

(2) Rule of construction

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to effect

subsection (a)(3) or (e) of this section.

-SOURCE-

(Pub. L. 105-19, Sec. 4, June 18, 1997, 111 Stat. 219.)

-REFTEXT-

REFERENCES IN TEXT

The Hate Crime Statistics Act, referred to in subsec. (f)(1)(B),

is Pub. L. 101-275, Apr. 23, 1990, 104 Stat. 140, which is set out

as a note under section 534 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial

Procedure.

-End-

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42 USC Sec. 14504 01/06/03

-EXPCITE-

TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 139 - VOLUNTEER PROTECTION

-HEAD-

Sec. 14504. Liability for noneconomic loss

-STATUTE-

(a) General rule

In any civil action against a volunteer, based on an action of a

volunteer acting within the scope of the volunteer's

responsibilities to a nonprofit organization or governmental

entity, the liability of the volunteer for noneconomic loss shall

be determined in accordance with subsection (b) of this section.

(b) Amount of liability

(1) In general

Each defendant who is a volunteer, shall be liable only for the

amount of noneconomic loss allocated to that defendant in direct

proportion to the percentage of responsibility of that defendant

(determined in accordance with paragraph (2)) for the harm to the

claimant with respect to which that defendant is liable. The

court shall render a separate judgment against each defendant in

an amount determined pursuant to the preceding sentence.

(2) Percentage of responsibility

For purposes of determining the amount of noneconomic loss

allocated to a defendant who is a volunteer under this section,

the trier of fact shall determine the percentage of

responsibility of that defendant for the claimant's harm.

-SOURCE-

(Pub. L. 105-19, Sec. 5, June 18, 1997, 111 Stat. 221.)

-End-

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42 USC Sec. 14505 01/06/03

-EXPCITE-

TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 139 - VOLUNTEER PROTECTION

-HEAD-

Sec. 14505. Definitions

-STATUTE-

For purposes of this chapter:

(1) Economic loss

The term "economic loss" means any pecuniary loss resulting

from harm (including the loss of earnings or other benefits

related to employment, medical expense loss, replacement services

loss, loss due to death, burial costs, and loss of business or

employment opportunities) to the extent recovery for such loss is

allowed under applicable State law.

(2) Harm

The term "harm" includes physical, nonphysical, economic, and

noneconomic losses.

(3) Noneconomic losses

The term "noneconomic losses" means losses for physical and

emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment,

mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of

society and companionship, loss of consortium (other than loss of

domestic service), hedonic damages, injury to reputation and all

other nonpecuniary losses of any kind or nature.

(4) Nonprofit organization

The term "nonprofit organization" means -

(A) any organization which is described in section 501(c)(3)

of title 26 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such

title and which does not practice any action which constitutes

a hate crime referred to in subsection (b)(1) of the first

section of the Hate Crime Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. 534 note);

or

(B) any not-for-profit organization which is organized and

conducted for public benefit and operated primarily for

charitable, civic, educational, religious, welfare, or health

purposes and which does not practice any action which

constitutes a hate crime referred to in subsection (b)(1) of

the first section of the Hate Crime Statistics Act (28 U.S.C.

534 note).

(5) State

The term "State" means each of the several States, the District

of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands,

Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, any other

territory or possession of the United States, or any political

subdivision of any such State, territory, or possession.

(6) Volunteer

The term "volunteer" means an individual performing services

for a nonprofit organization or a governmental entity who does

not receive -

(A) compensation (other than reasonable reimbursement or

allowance for expenses actually incurred); or

(B) any other thing of value in lieu of compensation,

in excess of $500 per year, and such term includes a volunteer

serving as a director, officer, trustee, or direct service

volunteer.

-SOURCE-

(Pub. L. 105-19, Sec. 6, June 18, 1997, 111 Stat. 221.)

-REFTEXT-

REFERENCES IN TEXT

The Hate Crime Statistics Act, referred to in par. (4), is Pub.

L. 101-275, Apr. 23, 1990, 104 Stat. 140, which is set out as a

note under section 534 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial

Procedure.

-End-