Session Law

2014

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Chapter 227 AN ACT PROTECTING CERTAIN PERSONS WHO RENDER VOLUNTARY SERVICES AT THE SCENE OF A DISASTER OR CATASTROPHE

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
     SECTION 1.  Chapter 112 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 60P the following section:-
     Section 60Q.  (a) As used in this section, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-
     “Architect”, a person duly licensed under section 60A, as an architect including any firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization engaged in the business of providing architecture services and employing such architect and any owner, officer, director, shareholder, partner or employee of such firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization.
     “Building inspection official”, an appointed or elected federal, state or local official with overall executive responsibility to coordinate building inspection in the jurisdiction in which the emergency or event has occurred.
     “Contractor”, a person, firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization that is engaged in the business of designing, developing, constructing, altering, adding to or repairing new or existing structures, buildings, facilities, project utilities, equipment, machines, processes, piping or other engineered systems or infrastructure or their appurtenances; provided, that this term shall include:
     (i)  an owner, officer, director, shareholder, partner or employee of the contractor;
     (ii)  subcontractors and suppliers of labor and materials used by a contractor in a building, structure, facility, project utility, equipment, machine, process, piping or other engineered system or infrastructure; and
     (iii)  a risk retention group registered under applicable law, if any, that insures all or any part of a contractor’s liability for the cost to repair a construction defect.
     “Environmental official”, a federal, state or local official with overall responsibility for coordinating an environmental response in the jurisdiction in which the emergency or event has occurred.
     “Environmental professional”, a person duly licensed under sections 19 to 19J, inclusive, of chapter 21A as a hazardous waste site cleanup professional, including any firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization engaged in the business of providing hazardous waste site cleanup services and employing such licensed site professional and any owner, officer, director, shareholder, partner or employee of such firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization.
     “Land surveyor”, a person duly licensed under section 81D, as a professional land surveyor including any firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization engaged in the business of providing land surveying services and employing such land surveyor and any owner, officer, director, shareholder, partner or employee of such firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization.
     “Landscape architect”, a person duly licensed under section 98 as a landscape architect, including any firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization engaged in the business of providing landscape architecture services and employing such landscape architect and any owner, officer, director, shareholder, partner or employee of such firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization.
     “Law enforcement official”, an appointed or elected federal, state or local official with overall executive responsibility to coordinate law enforcement in the jurisdiction in which the emergency or event has occurred.
     “Natural disaster or catastrophe”, an event, whether man-made or natural, that is declared an emergency by the President of the United States or by the governor, or which results in the deployment of emergency response personnel or the displacement of persons from the area of the event.
     “Planner”, a person duly certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners as a certified planner, including any firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization engaged in the business of providing planning services and employing such planner and any owner, officer, director, shareholder, partner or employee of such firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization.
     “Professional engineer”, a person duly licensed under section 81D, as a professional engineer including any firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization engaged in the business of providing engineering services and employing such professional engineer and any owner, officer, director, shareholder, partner or employee of such firm, partnership, corporation, association or other organization.
     “Public official”, a federal, state or local appointed or elected official with overall executive responsibility in the jurisdiction in which the emergency or event has occurred.
     “Public safety official”, an appointed or elected federal, state or local official with overall executive responsibility to coordinate public safety in the jurisdiction in which the emergency or event has occurred.
     (b)     (1)  A professional engineer, architect, environmental professional, landscape architect, planner, land surveyor or contractor who voluntarily, without compensation and acting in good faith, provides structural, electrical, mechanical, or other engineering, architectural, environmental, landscape architectural, planning, land surveying, waste site cleanup, contracting or other professional design services related to a natural disaster or catastrophe at the request of or with the approval of a national, state or local public official, law enforcement official, public safety official, building inspection official or environmental official believed by the professional engineer, architect, environmental professional, landscape architect, planner, land surveyor or contractor to be acting in an official capacity, shall not be liable for any personal injury, wrongful death, property damage or other loss caused by the professional engineer’s, architect’s, environmental professional’s, landscape architect’s, planner’s, land surveyor’s or contractor’s acts, errors or omissions in the performance of an engineering, architectural, environmental, landscape architectural, planning, land surveying, waste site cleanup or contracting services for a site, structure, building, facility, project utility, equipment, machine, process, piping or other engineered system or infrastructure, either publicly or privately owned.
     (2)  The immunity provided in this subsection shall apply only to the provision of voluntary engineering, architectural, environmental, landscape architectural, planning, land surveying, waste site cleanup, contracting, or other professional design services during the natural disaster or catastrophe or within 90 days of the end of the natural disaster or catastrophe, unless the period of emergency is extended by an executive order issued by the governor under the governor’s emergency executive powers.
     (3)  Nothing in this subsection shall provide immunity for wanton, willful or intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
     (4)  When a professional engineer, architect, environmental professional, landscape architect, planner, land surveyor or contractor voluntarily renders services at the request of or with the approval of a state or local employee or official and where such services fall within the ambit of the immunity provided in this subsection, the liability of the state or locality, if any, which requested the services shall not be affected by the provisions of this subsection.
     SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect on January 1 next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.

Approved, August 5, 2014.