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Legal Considerations for Volunteers Written by Paul Ballard, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Maryland.

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Presentation on theme: "Legal Considerations for Volunteers Written by Paul Ballard, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Maryland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Legal Considerations for Volunteers Written by Paul Ballard, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Maryland

2 Scenario 1:  You are asked to drive a state vehicle to obtain medications for your patients. Outcome:  You do this: Thus, you are acting within your scope of duties.

3 BUT, what if you make a mistake in good faith and cause an accident? Scenario 2:

4 If you were acting within your scope of duties and made a mistake in good faith, you would be covered by the State.

5 You take the car on a personal errand -- you would be acting OUTSIDE the scope of your public duties. You would NOT be covered for any accident that might occur. Scenario 3:

6 This is Malice and the State would NOT cover you.   Let’s say that you’re driving within your scope of duties while getting the medications, but then you intentionally hit someone with your car. Scenario 4:

7 If you intended to hurt someone, you would NOT be covered by the State.

8 This is Gross Negligence and the State would NOT cover you.   Let’s say that you’re driving within your scope of duties while getting the medications, but while driving, you are reckless…for example, you drive 100 MPH through a crowed city block. This would show that you really do not care whether you hurt anyone or not. Scenario 5:

9 Do you get legal representation if you are sued?

10 In most cases you would.  You would get representation if you acted IN THE SCOPE of your duties and were NOT grossly negligent or malicious.

11 The Attorney General’s Office Will Provide You with Legal Representation IF You:   Acted in the scope of your duties,   Were NOT grossly negligent, &   Were NOT malicious

12 However, if you have insurance coverage on your own, the Attorney General’s Office may decline to represent you if the insurance coverage already provides you with defense counsel.

13 Criminal Action   The Attorney General’s Office CANNOT defend you in a Criminal Action.

14 Now, if the Attorney General determines that you:   Were Malicious,   Acted Outside your Scope of Duties, OR   Were Grossly Negligent AND…

15 …And you have to hire your own legal counsel, and then the court determines that you:  Were NOT Malicious,  Acted INSIDE your scope of duties, AND  Were NOT Grossly Negligent THEN…

16 …Then you may seek reimbursement from the Board of Public Works.  In most cases, reimbursement is granted upon the recommendation of the Attorney General.

17 Not only is Paul Ballard a lawyer, but he’s also a professional juggler. In these examples, Paul uses juggling scenarios to exemplify differences in legal terminology.

18 Scenario 1:  Let’s say Paul is asked to be a volunteer juggler and to be a volunteer juggler and he is asked to juggle 3 balls.  Juggling 3 balls is within Paul’s scope of duties, because that is what he was asked to do.

19 What if Paul drops 1 ball?  He is NEGLIGENT, but he IS still covered by the State because he was acting within his scope of duties.

20 Let’s say Paul acts with malice, gets angry, and he throws the balls at someone.  He is MALICIOUS, and he is NOT covered by the State.

21 Now what if Paul is juggling the 3 balls within the scope of his duty, but he does not care what mistakes he makes. Oops…he drops all 3 balls. Now what?  This is GROSS NEGLIGENCE, and he is NOT covered by the State. He is reckless.

22 Remember that Paul was assigned to juggle only 3 balls. Well, Paul believes that he is a really great juggler, so he juggles 4. That’s fine, except that now Paul is OUTSIDE The Scope of Duties.

23 If Paul is acting OUTSIDE his Scope of Duties, he is NOT covered by the State, and he needs to have his own liability coverage.

24 Summary:  3 balls within the scope of duties, Paul drops 1 – that’s Negligence. He IS covered.  3 balls, Paul gets angry and throws 1 at someone – that’s Malice. He is NOT covered.  Paul doesn’t care what happens – that’s Gross Negligence. He is NOT covered.  Paul tries to juggle 4 balls, which is outside his scope of duties. He is NOT covered.

25 Workers’ Compensation The Maryland Tort Claims Act does not provide for workers’ compensation. If you become ill or are injured due to the negligence of a State employee or volunteer, you may have a claim under the Maryland Tort Claims Act. But if no one was at fault, you may be without coverage. Therefore…(see next slide)

26 Workers’ Comp. Continued… Therefore, it would be a good idea to check with your insurance company about making sure that you are covered in case you became ill or injured as a volunteer. If you received a smallpox vaccination that was authorized under the Smallpox Emergency Personnel Protection Act of 2003 and become ill or injured, you would be eligible for compensation under that federal Act.

27 Thank You If you have any questions, please them to the Board’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at


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