CHAPTER 258 CLAIMS AND INDEMNITY PROCEDURE FOR THE COMMONWEALTH, ITS MUNICIPALITIES, COUNTIES AND DISTRICTS AND THE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES THEREOFPrev Next
Section 2. Public employers shall be liable for injury or loss of property or personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any public employee while acting within the scope of his office or employment, in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual under like circumstances, except that public employers shall not be liable to levy of execution on any real and personal property to satisfy judgment, and shall not be liable for interest prior to judgment or for punitive damages or for any amount in excess of $100,000; provided, however, that all claims for serious bodily injury against the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shall not be subject to a $100,000 limitation on compensatory damages. The remedies provided by this chapter shall be exclusive of any other civil action or proceeding by reason of the same subject matter against the public employer or, the public employee or his estate whose negligent or wrongful act or omission gave rise to such claim, and no such public employee or the estate of such public employee shall be liable for any injury or loss of property or personal injury or death caused by his negligent or wrongful act or omission while acting within the scope of his office or employment; provided, however, that a public employee shall provide reasonable cooperation to the public employer in the defense of any action brought under this chapter. Failure to provide such reasonable cooperation on the part of a public employee shall cause the public employee to be jointly liable with the public employer, to the extent that the failure to provide reasonable cooperation prejudiced the defense of the action. Information obtained from the public employee in providing such reasonable cooperation may not be used as evidence in any disciplinary action against the employee. Final judgment in an action brought against a public employer under this chapter shall constitute a complete bar to any action by a party to such judgment against such public employer or public employee by reason of the same subject matter.
Notwithstanding that a public employee shall not be liable for negligent or wrongful acts as described in the preceding paragraph, if a cause of action is improperly commenced against a public employee of the commonwealth alleging injury or loss of property or personal injury or death as the result of the negligent or wrongful act or omission of such employee, said employee may request representation by the public attorney of the commonwealth. The public attorney shall defend the public employee with respect to the cause of action at no cost to the public employee; provided, however, that the public attorney determines that the public employee was acting within the scope of his office or employment at the time of the alleged loss, injury, or death, and, further, that said public employee provides reasonable cooperation to the public employer and public attorney in the defense of any action arising out of the same subject matter. If, in the opinion of the public attorney, representation of the public employee, under this paragraph would result in a conflict of interest, the public attorney shall not be required to represent the public employee. Under said circumstances, the commonwealth shall reimburse the public employee for reasonable attorney fees incurred by the public employee in his defense of the cause of action; provided, however, that the same conditions exist which are required for representation of said employee by the public attorney under this paragraph.