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4201 - Claims--Litigation Handling Policy
The purpose of this policy is to (1) establish a systematic method of handling claims and lawsuits; (2) ensure timely response to all claims and lawsuits; and (3) protect the assets and interests of the City, its officers, employees and volunteers.
It is the responsibility of all City employees to comply with this policy. Department directors are responsible for the implementation of these regulations in their respective departments. Disciplinary action, up to and including termination, may be taken against those who fail to follow these procedures.
Reporting of Threatened Legal Actions or Claims for Damages
A. The Risk Manager, Assistant City Attorney and City Attorney are to be promptly notified by the Department Director (or designee) of the involved employee(s) if:
1. A written or verbal threat of legal action or a claim for damages, deemed credible in the Department Director's or designee's judgement, is received; or
2. An incident occurs for which the City may be liable for property damages and/or bodily injury (whether or not a claim is filed).
B. The Risk Management Division will see that the appropriate Notice of Occurrence or Notice of Claim Form is completed and submitted to the City Attorney’s Office and URMMA, along with a copy of related information, within three business days. (Exception - When a matter involves property damage of less than $15,000 and no bodily injury, URMMA has agreed to allow the City to send in all of the information relating to the claim at once after the claim is settled or denied and after all paperwork is complete.)
C. The Risk Management Division should see that URMMA is notified within 1 business day of serious occurrences likely to give rise to significant liability. Such occurrences would include:
1. Incidents involving death, serious personal injury or hospitalization.
2. Any police shootings.
3. Employee terminations when legal review was not completed.
4. Sexual harassment allegations.
5. Large sewer backups and/or flooding.
6. Planning and zoning issues where parties threaten litigation or are likely to file claims or lawsuits.
D. An occurrence/claims file of each incident will be created and maintained by the Risk Analyst.
Admission of Liability Prohibited
No official or employee shall admit or indicate in any manner that he or she, or the City, is at fault or has any liability in any incident that may result in a claim or lawsuit. No official or employee shall make any commitment or promise to claimants unless specifically authorized to do so by the City Manager.
Release of Information Relating to Litigation Must be Cleared
City employees are not to release information relating to litigation or pending litigation involving the City unless cleared through the City Attorney's Office. "Litigation" is defined as any currently prosecuted or ongoing legal proceedings or lawsuit. "Information relating to pending litigation" is any information relative to the City, its officers, employees, or agents that may place the City in a position of being sued or in a poor light from a legal perspective.
Claims ProceduresA. Any person desiring to make a claim against the City should be directed to the Management Services Department or the City’s website to obtain a Claim Against Layton City Form.
B. The Risk Management Division will make these forms available to the public during normal business hours. A written substitute for the claim form may be used but it must contain at least the information required on the claim form.
D. The City Recorder formally receives the claim, and immediately forwards it to the Risk Management Division for review and processing. The Risk Management Division creates a file for the claim and completes a Notice of Claim Form as required by URMMA, and sends it to them along with a copy of the claim and any other supporting documents within three business days of receipt of the claim. The Risk Management Division coordinates the investigation of claims and may refer the investigation of any claim to URMMA.
E. Claims involving bodily injury and/or property damage in excess of $15,000 will generally be handled by URMMA, unless agreed to otherwise.
F. The City Claims Committee, consisting of a representative from each department appointed by their department director and chaired by the Risk Manager, shall:
1. Review all claims and lawsuits filed against the City;
2. Review occurrences likely to give rise to liability;
3. Review all accidents, injuries, and property damage involving City employees while on the job;
4. Recommend measures to reduce the likelihood of recurrence in the future;
5. Determine if damages from a claim might be preventable by City employees, thereby requiring an Accident Review Board;
6. Make a recommendation to the City Manager as to how each claim should be resolved.
G. The City Manager shall determine the final resolution of claims. Claims with proposed settlements of over $25,000 may be resolved by the City Manager with the advice and consent of the City Council.
H. The City shall have 60 days to investigate and make a decision concerning a claim. A written decision may be provided. If no decision has been provided within 60 days, the claim shall be deemed denied.
Release and Covenant Not to Sue Required
No claim or settlement shall be paid unless the claimant has executed a Release and Covenant Not to Sue form in substantially the form prepared by URMMA or the City Attorney.
Claims made by Layton City for Subrogation of Damages
The City should take reasonable steps to recover damages from responsible parties if the cost of recovery is less than what the City might reasonably expect to recover.
• City employees shall immediately notify their Department Director when City property has been damaged or if the City has suffered other financial loss. The Department Director will then apprise the Risk Manager or Assistant City Attorney as needed, but no later than the next business day. In the case of a vehicle accident, the Employee Accident Report Form and Supervisor's Supplemental Report of Accident (See Policy #4103) will serve as adequate notice.
• The police records division will promptly send the Risk Manager a copy of accident and criminal reports that indicate City property has been damaged. Whenever traffic or criminal charges are filed, the Risk Management Division, under the direction of the Assistant City Attorney should submit a Victim Impact Statement to the City Attorney within five (5) days of the loss in order to claim restitution through the court.
• The Risk Management Division, under the direction of the Assistant City Attorney should place responsible parties on written notice that a claim is pending.
• The City will take appropriate action against any person that refuses to pay for damages they are responsible for.
A. Employees, officials or volunteers receiving any documents concerning a lawsuit against the City are to deliver such documents to the Risk Management Division no later than one business day after being served.
B. The Risk Management Division will notify the City Manager and send a copy of documents received to the City Attorney's Office and to URMMA within 48 hours.
C. The City Attorney's Office and URMMA will work together to investigate lawsuits and to recommend to Administration the most appropriate action to be taken.
D. Lawsuits involving claims covered by the City's liability insurance may be defended by legal counsel retained by URMMA. The City Attorney's office will coordinate defense efforts with URMMA.
E. All City employees, officers and volunteers shall cooperate fully in processing and defending any claim or lawsuit.
Claims, Proceedings or Legal Actions and Lawsuits Against Third Parties
No officer, employee or representative of Layton City acting in their official capacity shall file, or cause to be filed, or assert any claim, complaint, proceeding or legal action against any person and/or entity with any court, regulatory agency or other body, whether public or private, without first submitting the proposed claim, complaint, proceeding or legal action to the City Attorney for his review and recommendations to the City Manager regarding the advisability of instigating or filing such proceeding, claim, complaint or action.
Upon receiving authorization from the City Manager, the claim, complaint, proceeding or legal action may be instigated and filed by the City Attorney on behalf of any officer, employee or representative of the City acting in their official capacity.
Nothing contained herein shall prevent any officer, employee or representative of the City from instigating or commencing any claim, complaint, proceeding, or legal action in their capacity as individuals and not as officers, employees and/or representatives of the City, in which event such individuals shall hold the City harmless from any and all claims, causes of action, damages and expenses including attorney's fees arising out of the individuals claim, complaint, proceeding or legal action against any third parties.
Minor Edit, 1/6/2004
Minor Edit, 2/26/2004
Minor Edit, 3/4/2004
Minor Edit, 3/4/2004
Amended, 3/17/2008, Previous Policy 4201
Amended, 5/8/2008, Previous Policy 4201
Amended, 1/28/2011, Previous Policy 4201