SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY

Overview

Along with more commonly known liability protections such as the Good Samaritan Act and the Emergency Management Act, Collier County Medical Reserve Corps (CCMRC) Volunteers are also provided protection under the State of Florida's Sovereign Immunity Statute, the Volunteer Protection Act, and the Department of Health's Chapter 110 Volunteer Program.

Under existing Florida state law it is possible to provide liability protection to individuals and organizations that formally partner in an agency arrangement with the state for emergency response activities.

Defined

A “volunteer” means any person who, of his or her own free will, provides goods or services, or conveys an interest in or otherwise consents to the use of real property pursuant to chapter 260, to any state department or agency, or nonprofit organization, with no monetary or material compensation.”

Most importantly, the exclusive remedy for tort liability for damages caused by “agents of the state” acting in good faith and within the scope of their function shall be by legal action against the governmental agency, as provided under the Florida Code section 768.28(9)(a), F.S.: “No officer, employee, or agent of the state or of any of its subdivisions shall be held personally liable in tort or named as a party defendant in any action for any injury or damage suffered as a result of any act, event, or omission of action in the scope of her or his employment or function, unless such officer, employee, or agent acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property…. The exclusive remedy for injury or damage suffered as a result of an act, event, or omission of an officer, employee, or agent of the state or any of its subdivisions or constitutional officers shall be by action against the governmental entity, or the head of such entity in her or his official capacity, or the constitutional officer of which the officer, employee, or agent is an employee, unless such act or omission was committed in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property."

Accordingly, the Florida Department of Health has developed the “Chapter 110 Volunteer Program” and a package of materials for stakeholders. This program explains the policies, procedures, scope, and conditions by which persons, including members of entities including businesses and homeowners associations, can become volunteers and agents of the state for emergency response purposes.

Disclaimer

This information is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Individuals are cautioned to not act on this information without seeking a lawyer’s advice.

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