(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, unless the elected official and the public entity are named as codefendants in the same action, a public entity is not liable to a plaintiff under this part for any act or omission of an elected official employed by or otherwise representing that public entity, which act or omission constitutes an intentional tort, including, but not limited to, harassment, sexual battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. For purposes of this section, harassment in violation of state or federal law constitutes an intentional tort, to the extent permitted by federal law. This section shall not apply to defamation.
(b) If the elected official is held liable for an intentional tort other than defamation in such an action, the trier of fact in reaching the verdict shall determine if the act or omission constituting the intentional tort arose from and was directly related to the elected official’s performance of his or her official duties. If the trier of fact determines that the act or omission arose from and was directly related to the elected official’s performance of his or her official duties, the public entity shall be liable for the judgment as provided by law. For the purpose of this subdivision, employee managerial functions shall be deemed to arise from, and to directly relate to, the elected official’s official duties. However, acts or omissions constituting sexual harassment shall not be deemed to arise from, and to directly relate to, the elected official’s official duties.
(c) If the trier of fact determines that the elected official’s act or omission did not arise from and was not directly related to the elected official’s performance of his or her official duties, upon a final judgment, including any appeal, the plaintiff shall first seek recovery of the judgment against the assets of the elected official. If the court determines that the elected official’s assets are insufficient to satisfy the total judgment, including plaintiff’s costs as provided by law, the court shall determine the amount of the deficiency and the plaintiff may seek to collect that remainder of the judgment from the public entity. The public entity may pay that deficiency if the public entity is otherwise authorized by law to pay that judgment.
(d) To the extent the public entity pays any portion of the judgment against the elected official pursuant to subdivision (c) or has expended defense costs in an action in which the trier of fact determines the elected official’s action did not arise from and did not directly relate to his or her performance of official duties, the public entity shall pursue all available creditor’s remedies against the elected official in indemnification, including garnishment, until the elected official has fully reimbursed the public entity.
(e) If the public entity elects to appeal the judgment in an action brought pursuant to this section, the entity shall continue to provide a defense for the official until the case is finally adjudicated, as provided by law.
(f) It is the intent of the Legislature that elected officials assume full fiscal responsibility for their conduct which constitutes an intentional tort not directly related to their official duties committed for which the public entity they represent may also be liable, while maintaining fair compensation for those persons injured by such conduct.
(g) This section shall not apply to a criminal or civil enforcement action brought on behalf of the state by an elected district attorney, city attorney, or Attorney General.
(h) If any provision of this section or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the section which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this section are severable.
(Added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 796, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1995.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018