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California Government Code Section 825

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Government Code > California Government Code Section 825

825.  (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, if an
employee or former employee of a public entity requests the public
entity to defend him or her against any claim or action against him
or her for an injury arising out of an act or omission occurring
within the scope of his or her employment as an employee of the
public entity and the request is made in writing not less than 10
days before the day of trial, and the employee or former employee
reasonably cooperates in good faith in the defense of the claim or
action, the public entity shall pay any judgment based thereon or any
compromise or settlement of the claim or action to which the public
entity has agreed.
   If the public entity conducts the defense of an employee or former
employee against any claim or action with his or her reasonable
good-faith cooperation, the public entity shall pay any judgment
based thereon or any compromise or settlement of the claim or action
to which the public entity has agreed. However, where the public
entity conducted the defense pursuant to an agreement with the
employee or former employee reserving the rights of the public entity
not to pay the judgment, compromise, or settlement until it is
established that the injury arose out of an act or omission occurring
within the scope of his or her employment as an employee of the
public entity, the public entity is required to pay the judgment,
compromise, or settlement only if it is established that the injury
arose out of an act or omission occurring in the scope of his or her
employment as an employee of the public entity.
   Nothing in this section authorizes a public entity to pay that
part of a claim or judgment that is for punitive or exemplary
damages.
   (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) or any other provision of law,
a public entity is authorized to pay that part of a judgment that is
for punitive or exemplary damages if the governing body of that
public entity, acting in its sole discretion except in cases
involving an entity of the state government, finds all of the
following:
   (1) The judgment is based on an act or omission of an employee or
former employee acting within the course and scope of his or her
employment as an employee of the public entity.
   (2) At the time of the act giving rise to the liability, the
employee or former employee acted, or failed to act, in good faith,
without actual malice and in the apparent best interests of the
public entity.
   (3) Payment of the claim or judgment would be in the best
interests of the public entity.
   As used in this subdivision with respect to an entity of state
government, "a decision of the governing body" means the approval of
the Legislature for payment of that part of a judgment that is for
punitive damages or exemplary damages, upon recommendation of the
appointing power of the employee or former employee, based upon the
finding by the Legislature and the appointing authority of the
existence of the three conditions for payment of a punitive or
exemplary damages claim. The provisions of subdivision (a) of Section
965.6 shall apply to the payment of any claim pursuant to this
subdivision.
   The discovery of the assets of a public entity and the
introduction of evidence of the assets of a public entity shall not
be permitted in an action in which it is alleged that a public
employee is liable for punitive or exemplary damages.
   The possibility that a public entity may pay that part of a
judgment that is for punitive damages shall not be disclosed in any
trial in which it is alleged that a public employee is liable for
punitive or exemplary damages, and that disclosure shall be grounds
for a mistrial.
   (c) Except as provided in subdivision (d), if the provisions of
this section are in conflict with the provisions of a memorandum of
understanding reached pursuant to Chapter 10 (commencing with Section
3500) of Division 4 of Title 1, the memorandum of understanding
shall be controlling without further legislative action, except that
if those provisions of a memorandum of understanding require the
expenditure of funds, the provisions shall not become effective
unless approved by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act.
   (d) The subject of payment of punitive damages pursuant to this
section or any other provision of law shall not be a subject of meet
and confer under the provisions of Chapter 10 (commencing with
Section 3500) of Division 4 of Title 1, or pursuant to any other law
or authority.
   (e) Nothing in this section shall affect the provisions of Section
818 prohibiting the award of punitive damages against a public
entity. This section shall not be construed as a waiver of a public
entity's immunity from liability for punitive damages under Section
1981, 1983, or 1985 of Title 42 of the United States Code.
   (f) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a public entity shall
not pay a judgment, compromise, or settlement arising from a claim
or action against an elected official, if the claim or action is
based on conduct by the elected official by way of tortiously
intervening or attempting to intervene in, or by way of tortiously
influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of, any judicial
action or proceeding for the benefit of a particular party by
contacting the trial judge or any commissioner, court-appointed
arbitrator, court-appointed mediator, or court-appointed special
referee assigned to the matter, or the court clerk, bailiff, or
marshal after an action has been filed, unless he or she was counsel
of record acting lawfully within the scope of his or her employment
on behalf of that party. Notwithstanding Section 825.6, if a public
entity conducted the defense of an elected official against such a
claim or action and the elected official is found liable by the trier
of fact, the court shall order the elected official to pay to the
public entity the cost of that defense.
   (2) If an elected official is held liable for monetary damages in
the action, the plaintiff shall first seek recovery of the judgment
against the assets of the elected official. If the elected official's
assets are insufficient to satisfy the total judgment, as determined
by the court, the public entity may pay the deficiency if the public
entity is authorized by law to pay that judgment.
   (3) To the extent the public entity pays any portion of the
judgment or is entitled to reimbursement of defense costs pursuant to
paragraph (1), the public entity shall pursue all available creditor'
s remedies against the elected official, including garnishment, until
that party has fully reimbursed the public entity.
   (4) This subdivision shall not apply to any criminal or civil
enforcement action brought in the name of the people of the State of
California by an elected district attorney, city attorney, or
attorney general.
Section: 825  825.2  825.4  825.6  Next

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Last modified: March 17, 2014