Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 29: Remedies and Special Proceedings

Chapter 20: Governmental Tort Liability

Part 3: Claims Procedure

TCA 29-20-310: Determinations to be made by court -- Restrictions on claims against employees -- Medical malpractice -- Immunity indemnification and insurability of local government employees.

(a) The court, before holding a governmental entity liable for damages, must first determine that the employee's or employees' act or acts were negligent and the proximate cause of plaintiff's injury, that the employee or employees acted within the scope of their employment and that none of the exceptions listed in SC 29-20-205 are applicable to the facts before the court.

(b) No claim may be brought against an employee or judgment entered against an employee for damages for which the immunity of the governmental entity is removed by this chapter unless the claim is one for health care liability brought against a health care practitioner. No claim for health care liability may be brought against a health care practitioner or judgment entered against a health care practitioner for damages for which the governmental entity is liable under this chapter, unless the amount of damages sought or judgment entered exceeds the minimum limits set out in SC 29-20-403 or the amount of insurance coverage actually carried by the governmental entity, whichever is greater, and the governmental entity is also made a party defendant to the action. As used in this subsection (b), "health care practitioner" means physicians licensed under title 63, chapter 6, and nurses licensed under title 63, chapter 7.

(c) No claim may be brought against an employee or judgment entered against an employee for injury proximately caused by an act or omission of the employee within the scope of the employee's employment for which the governmental entity is immune in any amount in excess of the amounts established for governmental entities in SC 29-20-403, unless the act or omission was willful, malicious, criminal, or performed for personal financial gain, or unless the act or omission was one of health care liability committed by a health care practitioner and the claim is brought against such health care practitioner. As used in this subsection (c), "health care practitioner" means physicians licensed under title 63, chapter 6, and nurses licensed under title 63, chapter 7.

(d) Local governmental entities shall have the right, as a matter of local option, to elect to insure or to indemnify their employees for claims for which the governmental entity is immune under this chapter arising under state or federal law upon such terms and conditions as the local government may deem appropriate; provided, that such indemnification may not exceed the limits of liability established for governmental entities in SC 29-20-403 except in causes of action in which the liability of governmental employees is not limited as provided in this chapter.

(e) (1) As used in this subsection (e), "volunteer" means a person who donates or volunteers that person's time or services to a local governmental entity when the donation of such time or services is at the request of the local governmental entity and under the direction of a local governmental employee.

(2) A local governmental entity may elect to insure or indemnify its volunteers for claims arising under state or federal law for which the governmental entity is immune under this chapter. Such insurance or indemnification shall be upon such terms and conditions as the local governmental entity establishes. However, no such indemnification may exceed the limits of liability established for governmental entities in SC 29-20-403. The volunteer shall be liable for any amount in excess of such limits of governmental liability established in SC 29-20-403.

(3) Nothing in this subsection (e) may be construed to affect the status of regular members of a voluntary or auxiliary firefighting, police or emergency assistance organization as employees of a governmental entity as provided in SC 29-20-107(d), nor to impair any immunity granted to these personnel because of that status.

History: Acts 1973, ch. 345, SC 20; T.C.A., SC 23-3322; Acts 1987, ch. 405, SCSC 1, 2; 1993, ch. 406, SC 1; 1996, ch. 957, SC 1; 2001, ch. 419, SC 1; 2012, ch. 798, SC 6.