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) 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.
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.
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.
The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.
The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013
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Description of Change
Statutes at Large
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