Oregon Statutes - Chapter 278 - Insurance for Public Bodies - Section 278.120 - Claims management; defense; authority of Attorney General; payment of judgment or settlement; rules.

(1) Without in any way limiting who may receive actual notice of a claim under ORS 30.275 (6), the Oregon Department of Administrative Services has exclusive authority to manage claims against the state, and against the officers, employees and agents of the state, that arise under the provisions of ORS 30.260 to 30.300. The department may delegate, by rule or by policy, claim management functions for claims arising under the provisions of ORS 30.260 to 30.300, including investigation, negotiation and settlement, to the Attorney General. The department may delegate, by rule or by policy, claim management for certain kinds of claims against an agency to the agency’s elected or appointed head. Upon receipt by the department of a claim for damages against the State of Oregon or a state officer, employee or agent within the scope of ORS 30.260 to 30.300, if the claim is covered by insurance, the department shall tender defense of the claim to the insurer, and if such tender is accepted, ORS chapter 180 and the remaining provisions of this section shall not be applicable. If the claim is not covered by insurance or if the tender is rejected, the department shall cause an investigation to be conducted to determine whether the claim is meritorious and comes within the provisions of ORS 30.260 to 30.300. The Attorney General may conduct the investigation if requested by the department. If the department determines that the state or a state officer, agent or employee is or may be liable to the claimant under ORS 30.260 to 30.300, the department may negotiate, compromise and settle with the claimant. However, the department shall not compromise or settle a claim for declaratory, injunctive or other protective relief against a state department or agency that is headed by an elected official, its officers, employees or agents, or that elected official, without the express prior consent of the elected official. The Attorney General shall defend all lawsuits after the department has determined that a reasonable settlement cannot be achieved. The department shall pay from the Special Liability Revolving Fund authorized in ORS 278.150 or the Insurance Fund the amount of any judgment, and, if the department determines such action to be appropriate, the amount of any settlement unless the defense of the claim has been rejected pursuant to ORS 30.285 (5) or the Attorney General determines, in consultation with the department, that the act or omission of a state officer, employee or agent out of which the claim arose was committed maliciously or with an intent to cause unlawful damage or injury or with gross recklessness.

(2) The department, through the Insurance Fund, shall pay reasonable defense expenditures for and indemnify liabilities of an officer, employee or agent of a court of this state who is a state officer, employee or agent that arise out of a mandamus proceeding brought against that person in the person’s official capacity.

(3) The authority granted to the department under subsection (1) of this section is subject to the authority of the Attorney General provided for under this section and under ORS 180.220.

(4) As used in this section, “state officer, employee or agent” includes the district attorney and deputy district attorneys, special prosecutors and law clerks of the office of district attorney who act in a prosecutorial capacity, but does not include any other employee of the office of district attorney or any employee of the justice or circuit court whose salary is paid wholly or in part by a county and who shall be considered an officer, agent or employee of the county. [1975 c.609 §6; 1979 c.669 §1; 1981 c.109 §16; 1981 c.350 §3; 1985 c.731 §14; 1987 c.763 §2; 1993 c.515 §2]

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Last modified: August 7, 2008