New Bill Would Make Public Employees Personally Liable

On February 4, 2014, three Arizona state senators introduced SB1405 (“public employee misconduct; civil action”). If adopted, the new law would impose personal liability on any public employee who causes damage through gross negligence, malicious conduct, or reckless disregard of the damages that might occur from the employee’s conduct. The standard would apply in cases in which such conduct was undertaken in fulfillment of the public employee’s official duties.

The new law would authorize the imposition of punitive damages on public employees in civil actions. Additionally, if the conduct at issue occurred while the employee was within the course and scope of his job duties, the bill would automatically impose joint and several liability on both the public entity employer and its employee. Finally, in the case of more than one responsible party, the new law would impose joint and several liability on all involved parties – including not just multiple employees, but also multiple public employers.

A copy of the bill can be found here:

For more information, call Erin Byrnes in the Udall Law Firm’s public entity group at 602.606.2111.

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