General Municipal Law Section 50-K
Civil actions against employees of the city of New York
1.As used in this section:
a.“Agency” shall mean a city, county, borough, or other office, position, administration, council, department, division, bureau, board, community board, commission, institution or agency of government, the expenses of which are paid in whole or in part from the city treasury, but shall not include, unless otherwise provided by law, any public authority, public benefit corporation or board of education.
b.“City” shall mean the city of New York.
c.“Comptroller” shall mean the comptroller of the city.
d.“Corporation Council” shall mean the corporation council of the city.
e.“Employee” shall mean any person holding a position by election, appointment or employment in the service of any agency, whether or not compensated, or a volunteer expressly authorized to participate in a city sponsored volunteer program, but shall not include an independent contractor. The term employee shall include a former employee, his estate or judicially appointed personal representative.
2.At the request of the employee and upon compliance by the employee with the provisions of subdivision four of this section, the city shall provide for the defense of an employee of any agency in any civil action or proceeding in any state or federal court including actions under sections nineteen hundred eighty-one through nineteen hundred eighty-eight of title forty-two of the United States code arising out of any alleged act or omission which the corporation counsel finds occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his public employment and in the discharge of his duties and was not in violation of any rule or regulation of his agency at the time the alleged act or omission occurred. This duty to provide for a defense shall not arise where such civil action or proceeding is brought by or on behalf of the city or state or an agency of either.
3.The city shall indemnify and save harmless its employees in the amount of any judgment obtained against such employees in any state or federal court, or in the amount of any settlement of a claim approved by the corporation counsel and the comptroller, provided that the act or omission from which such judgment or settlement arose occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his public employment and in the discharge of his duties and was not in violation of any rule or regulation of his agency at the time the alleged damages were sustained; the duty to indemnify and save harmless prescribed by this subdivision shall not arise where the injury or damage resulted from intentional wrongdoing or recklessness on the part of the employee.
4.The duty to defend or indemnify and save harmless prescribed by this section shall be conditioned upon (a) delivery to the corporation counsel at the office of the law department of the city by the employee of the original or a copy of any summons, complaint, process, notice, demand or pleading within ten days after he is served with such document, and
(b)the full cooperation of the employee in the defense of such action or proceeding and in defense of any action or proceeding against the city based upon the same act or omission, and in the prosecution of any appeal. Such delivery shall be deemed a request by the employee that the city provide for his defense pursuant to this section. In the event that the corporation counsel shall assume an employee’s defense and thereafter the employee fails to or refuses to cooperate in the formation or presentation of his defense, the court shall permit the corporation counsel to withdraw his representation ten days after giving written notice to the employee of his intention to discontinue such representation.
5.In the event that the act or omission upon which the court proceeding against the employee is based was or is also the basis of a disciplinary proceeding by the employee’s agency against the employee, representation by the corporation counsel and indemnification by the city may be withheld (a) until such disciplinary proceeding has been resolved and (b) unless the resolution of the disciplinary proceeding exonerated the employee as to such act or omission.
6.Every action or proceeding instituted hereunder, including an action brought to enforce a provision of sections nineteen hundred eighty-one through nineteen hundred eighty-eight of title forty-two of the United States code, shall be commenced pursuant to the provisions of § 50-I (Presentation of tort claims)section fifty-i of this chapter and within one year and ninety days. No action or proceeding instituted hereunder, other than one instituted pursuant to sections nineteen hundred eighty-one through nineteen hundred eighty-eight of title forty-two of the United States code shall be prosecuted or maintained against the city or any agency or an employee unless notice of claim shall have been made and served upon the city in compliance with § 50-E (Notice of claim)section fifty-e of this chapter and within ninety days after the claim arises.
7.The provisions of this section shall not be construed to impair, alter, limit or modify the rights and obligations of any insurer under any policy of insurance.
8.The provisions of this section shall apply to all actions and proceedings pending upon the effective date thereof or thereafter instituted, except that the provisions of subdivision six shall apply only to actions and proceedings instituted on or after the effective date of this section.
9.The provisions of this section shall not be construed in any way to impair, alter, limit, modify, or abrogate or restrict any immunity available to or conferred upon any unit, entity, officer or employee of the city or any agency or any other level of government, or any right to defense and/or indemnification provided for any governmental officer or employee by, in accordance with, or by reason of, any other provision of state, federal or local law or common law.
Section 50-K — Civil actions against employees of the city of New York,
https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/GMU/50-K (updated Sep. 22, 2014; accessed Nov. 25, 2023).