Volunteer Protection Bills Offer "Carrot and Stick" to States to Enact Federal "Feel Good" Tort Reform

By Kozlowski, James C. | Parks & Recreation, June 1997 | Go to article overview

Volunteer Protection Bills Offer "Carrot and Stick" to States to Enact Federal "Feel Good" Tort Reform


Kozlowski, James C., Parks & Recreation


As characerized by the Bill, "the willingness of volunteers to offer their services is deterred by potential personal liability ... "

On March 4, H.IL 911 was introduced in the House of Representatives: "To encourage the States to enact legislation to grant immunity from personal civil liability, under certain circumstances, to volunteers working on behalf of nonprofit organizations and governmental entities." As characterized by the Bill, "the willingness of volunteers to offer their services is deterred by potential personal liability for simple mistakes made in the course of volunteer service." Further, H.R 911 provides the following rationalization proposing federal legislation in an area of the law traditionally governed by state law (i.e., personal injury liability for negligence): [B]ecause Federal funds are expended on useful and cost-effective social service programs which depend heavily on volunteer participation, protection of volunteerism through clarification and limitation of the personal liability risks assumed by the volunteer in connection with such participation is an appropriate subject for Federal encouragement of State reform.

Federal "encouragement" in the bill takes the form of a one percent increase in the fiscal year allotment for a state's Social Services Block Grant under Title XX (20) of the Social Security Act. To obtain such increased federal funding, States would have to certify to the Secretary of Health and Human Services that state tort reform legislation has been enacted which meets the requirements of H.R 911 to limit the liability of volunteers. Specifically, under Section 4 of the Bill, States must provide the following "Limitation on Liability for Volunteers":

[Al ny volunteer of a nonprofit organization or governmental entity shall incur no personal financial liability for any tort claim alleging damage or injury from any act or omission of the volunteer on behalf of the organization or entity if-(1) such volunteer was acting in good faith and within the scope of such volunteer's of ficial functions and duties with the organization or entity; and (2) such damage or injury was not caused by willful and wanton misconduct by such volunteer.

The Bill defines "volunteer" as "an individual performing services for a nonprofit organization or a governmental entity who does not receive-(A) compensation (including reimbursement or allowance for expenses), or (B) any other thing of value in lieu of compensation, in excess of $300, and such term includes a volunteer serving as a director, officer, trustee, or direct service volunteer."

Under H.R 911, a "nonprofit organization" is defined as "any organization described in section 501 (C) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501 (a) of such Code." Accordingly, the Bill would not apply to volunteers of unincorporated, non-profit associations providing their services through informal community service organizations and local sports associations.

The House Bill further provides that a State may "impose one or more of the following conditions on and exceptions to the granting of liability protection to any volunteer of an organization or entity" and still meet the certification requirements of H.R 911:

(1) The organization or entity must adhere to risk management procedures, including mandatory training of volunteers, as defined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services by regulation.

(2) The organization or entity shall be liable for the acts or omissions of its volunteers to the same extent as an employer is liable, under the laws of that State, for the acts or omissions of its employees.

(3) The protection from liability does not apply- (A) if the volunteer was operating a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or other vehicle for which the State involved requires the operator or vehicle owner to maintain insurance; (B) in the case of a suit brought by an appropriate officer of a State or local government to enforce a Federal, State, or local law; and (C) to the extent the claim would be covered under any insurance policy. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Volunteer Protection Bills Offer "Carrot and Stick" to States to Enact Federal "Feel Good" Tort Reform
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.