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§ 18. Defense and indemnification of officers and employees of public
entities. 1. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise
requires:
(a) The term "public entity" shall mean (i) a county, city, town,
village or any other political subdivision or civil division of the
state, (ii) a school district, board of cooperative educational
services, or any other governmental entity or combination or association
of governmental entities operating a public school, college, community
college or university, (iii) a public improvement or special district,
(iv) a public authority, commission, agency or public benefit
corporation, or (v) any other separate corporate instrumentality or unit
of government; but shall not include the state of New York or any other
public entity the officers and employees of which are covered by section
seventeen of this chapter or by defense and indemnification provisions
of any other state statute taking effect after January first, nineteen
hundred seventy-nine.
(b) The term "employee" shall mean any commissioner, member of a
public board or commission, trustee, director, officer, employee,
volunteer expressly authorized to participate in a publicly sponsored
volunteer program, or any otheHNhrson holding a position by election,
appointment or employment in the service of a public entity, whether or
not compensated, but shall not include the sheriff of any county or an
independent contractor. The term "employee" shall include a former
employee, his estate or judicially appointed personal representative.
(c) The term "governing body" shall mean the board or body in which
the general legislative, governmental or public powers of the public
entity are vested and by authority of which the business of the public
entity is conducted.

2. The provisions of this section shall apply to any public entity:
(a) whose governing body has agreed by the adoption of local law,
by-law, resolution, rule or regulation (i) to confer the benefits of
this section upon its employees, and (ii) to be held liable for the
costs incurred under these provisions; or
(b) where the governing body of a municipality, for whose benefit the
public entity has been established, has agreed by the adoption of local
law or resolution (i) to confer the benefits of this section upon the
employees of such public entity, and (ii) to be held liable for the
costs incurred under these provisions.

3. (a) Upon compliance by the employee with the provisions of
subdivision five of this section, the public entity shall provide for
the defense of the employee in any civil action or proceeding, state or
federal, arising out of any alleged act or omission which occurred or
allegedly occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his
public employment or duties. This duty to provide for a defense shall
not arise where such civil action or proceeding is brought by or at the
behest of the public entity employing such employee.
(b) Subject to the conditions set forth in paragraph (a) of this
subdivision, the employee shall be entitled to be represented by private
counsel of his choice in any civil action or proceeding whenever the
chief legal officer of the public entity or other counsel designated by
the public entity determines that a conflict of interest exists, or
whenever a court, upon appropriate motion or otherwise by a special
proceeding, determines that a conflict of interest exists and that the
employee is entitled to be represented by counsel of his choice,
provided, however, that the chief legal officer or other counsel
designated by the public entity may require, as a condition to payment
of the fees and expenses of such representation, that appropriate groups
of such employees be represented by the same counsel. Reasonable
attorneys' fees and litigation expenses shall be paid by the public
entity to such private counsel from time to time during the pendency of
the civil action or proceeding with the approval of the governing body
of the public entity.
(c) Any dispute with respect to representation of multiple employees
by a single counsel or the amount of litigation expenses or the
reasonableness of attorneys' fees shall be resolved by the court upon
motion or by way of a special proceeding.
(d) Where the employee delivers process and a written request for a
defense to the public entity under subdivision five of this section, the
public entity shall take the necessary steps on behalf of the employee
to avoid entry of a default judgment pending resolution of any question
pertaining to the obligation to provide for a defense.

4. (a) The public entity shall indemnify and save harmless its
employees in the amount of any judgment obtained against such employees
in a state or federal court, or in the amount of any settlement of a
claim, provided that the act or omission from which such judgment or
claim arose occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of
his public employment or duties; provided further that in the case of a
settlement the duty to indemnify and save harmless shall be conditioned
upon the approval of the amount of settlement by the governing body of
the public entity.
(b) Except as otherwise provided by law, 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.
(c) Nothing in this subdivision shall authorize a public entity to
indemnify or save harmless an employee with respect to punitive or
exemplary damages, fines or penalties, or money recovered from an
employee pursuant to section fifty-one of the general municipal law;
provided, however, that the public entity shall indemnify and save
harmless its employees in the amount of any costs, attorneys' fees,
damages, fines or penalties which may be imposed by reason of an
adjudication that an employee, acting within the scope of his public
employment or duties, has, without willfulness or intent on his part,
violated a prior order, judgment, consent decree or stipulation of
settlement entered in any court of this state or of the United States.
(d) Upon entry of a final judgment against the employee, or upon the
settlement of the claim, the employee shall serve a copy of such
judgment or settlement, personally or by certified or registered mail
within thirty days of the date of entry or settlement, upon the chief
administrative officer of the public entity; and if not inconsistent
with the provisions of this section, the amount of such judgment or
settlement shall be paid by the public entity.

5. The duty to defend or indemnify and save harmless prescribed by
this section shall be conditioned upon: (i) delivery by the employee to
the chief legal officer of the public entity or to its chief
administrative officer of a written request to provide for his defense
together with 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 (ii) the full cooperation of the employee in the defense
of such action or proceeding and in defense of any action or proceeding
against the public entity based upon the same act or omission, and in
the prosecution of any appeal.

6. The benefits of this section shall inure only to employees as
defined herein and shall not enlarge or diminish the rights of any other
party nor shall any provision of this section be construed to affect,
alter or repeal any provision of the workers' compensation law.

7. This section shall not in any way affect the obligation of any
claimant to give notice to the public entity under section ten of the
court of claims act, section fifty-e of the general municipal law, or
any other provision of law.

8. Any public entity is hereby authorized and empowered to purchase
insurance from any insurance company created by or under the laws of
this state, or authorized by law to transact business in this state,
against any liability imposed by the provisions of this section, or to
act as a self-insurer with respect thereto.

9. All payments made under the terms of this section, whether for
insurance or otherwise, shall be deemed to be for a public purpose and
shall be audited and paid in the same manner as other public charges.

10. 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.

11. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this section, the
provisions of this section shall not be construed in any way to impair,
alter, limit, modify, abrogate or restrict any immunity to liability
available to or conferred upon any unit, entity, officer or employee of
any public entity by, in accordance with, or by reason of, any other
provision of state or federal statutory or common law.

12. Except as otherwise provided in this section, benefits accorded to
employees under this section shall be in lieu of and take the place of
defense or indemnification protections accorded the same employees by
another enactment; unless the governing body of the public entity shall
have provided that these benefits shall supplement, and be available in
addition to, defense or indemnification protection conferred by another
enactment.

13. The provisions of this section shall also be applicable to any
public library supported in whole or in part by a public entity whose
governing body has determined by adoption of a local law, ordinance,
by-law, resolution, rule or regulation to confer the benefits of this
section upon the employees of such public library and to be held liable
for the costs incurred under these provisions.

14. If any provision of this section or the application thereof to any
person or circumstance be held unconstitutional or invalid in whole or
in part by any court, such holding of unconstitutionality or invalidity
shall in no way affect or impair any other provision of this section or
the application of any such provision to any other person or
circumstance.

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