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A03735 Summary:

BILL NOA03735
 
SAME ASNo Same As
 
SPONSORAubry
 
COSPNSRColton, Montesano
 
MLTSPNSRBronson, Cook, Magee, Perry
 
Amd 24, Cor L
 
Ensures that employees of the office of mental health who work in prison mental health units receive the same immunity from civil damages as other state employees who work in prisons; provides that civil actions cannot be brought in state court against any office of mental health officer or employee providing mental health services in a department of correctional services facility in his or her personal capacity for acts or omissions within the scope of employment.
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A03735 Actions:

BILL NOA03735
 
01/30/2017referred to correction
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A03735 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A3735
 
SPONSOR: Aubry (MS)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the correction law, in relation to conforming civil immunity protection for officers or employees of the office of mental health, with the protections afforded to others who serve in correction- al facilities operated by the department of correctional services   PURPOSE OF BILL: To ensure that employees of the Office of Mental Health (OMH) who work in prison mental health units, receive the same immunity from civil damage actions as all other State employees who work in the prisons.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of this bill would amend Correction Law § 24 to provide that civil actions for damages cannot be brought in any State court against any OMH officer or employee providing mental health services in a Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) facility in his or her personal capacity for acts or omissions within the scope of employment. This section would also provide that claims for damages arising out of the acts of such OMH employees shall be brought in the Court of Claims as a claim against the State. Section 2 would make this bill effective immediately and make it appli- cable only to claims arising on or after the effective date of the bill.   EXISTING LAW: Correction Law § 24(1) provides that DOCS officers and employees cannot be sued civilly in their personal capacities for damages arising out of any act or omission within the scope of employment, except by the Attor- ney General on behalf of the State. Subdivision 2 of section 24 requires that claims for damages arising out of acts or omissions of DOCS employees shall be brought in the Court of Claims as a claim against the State of New York. Correction Law § 401 authorizes the Commissioner of Correctional Services, in cooperation with the Commissioner of Mental Health, to establish programs in correctional facilities to serve mentally ill inmates which are administered and staffed by OMH (known as "satellite units"). Executive Law § 259-q affords employees of the Division of Parole the same protection as Correction Law § 24 affords DOCS employ- ees.   STATEMENT IN SUPPORT: OMH employees who work in satellite units located within DOCS facilities are no less susceptible to civil actions brought by inmates that are DOCS employees. OMH employees have close daily contact with the inmates they treat and are as likely to be sued as DOCS employees, however, they do not have the same protection against personal liability under State law as do DOCS employees. One effect of this disparate treatment is exemplified by a recent feder- al court decision, BROWN V. SHERIDAN, 150 F.R.D. 462 (N.D.N.Y 1993). In this case, plaintiffs brought federal claims against DOCS and OMH employees working in the same correctional facility as well as State claims in federal court (based on supplemental jurisdiction). The court dismissed the State claims against DOCS employees based on immunity pursuant to Correction Law § 24, but did not dismiss the State claims against OMH employees. It is significant that when DOCS employees were providing mental health services in the prisons, prior to the shift of responsibility for such services to OMH, they were protected in their personal capacities by Correction Law § 24. Moreover, Institutional Parole Officers, who are also stationed in DOCS facilities, have the same protection from personal liability as do DOCS employees. Importantly, this bill's extension of civil liability limitations to OMH employees working in the prisons will not prevent inmates from pursuing legitimate claims. As is currently the case for actions involving DOCS employees, damage claims can still be pursued in the Court of Claims as actions against the State. In addition, any acts or omissions of employ- ees which are outside the scope of their employment can also be pursued against them in State court. Furthermore, this bill would apply only to State claims and would not affect an inmate's ability to sue OMH employ- ees in their personal capacities in federal court on federal causes of action which provide for personal liability (e.g., actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Currently, inmates can and do sue DOCS employees in their personal capacities in federal court. This bill seeks to end the disparate treatment of OMH employees working in prisons and ensures that inmates can still pursue their State claims against OMH as they do currently against DOCS.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A8440 (2000); A5467 (2002); A875 referred to corrections in 2003 and 2004. A4989 of 2006 referred to correction on 01/04/06. A4208 referred to correction 2007 and 2008. A3493 referred to correction in 2009 and 2010. A.1798 referred to correction in 2011 and 2012. A.4111 was referred to correction 2013 and 2014. A.3314 was referred to correction in 2015.   BUDGET IMPLICATIONS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately, and the provisions of this act shall apply with respect to claims arising on or after such date.
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A03735 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          3735
 
                               2017-2018 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                    January 30, 2017
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced by M. of A. AUBRY, COLTON, MONTESANO -- Multi-Sponsored by --
          M. of A.  BRONSON, COOK, MAGEE, PERRY -- read once and referred to the
          Committee on Correction
 
        AN  ACT  to  amend  the  correction law, in relation to conforming civil
          immunity protection for officers or employees of the office of  mental
          health,  with  the protections afforded to others who serve in correc-
          tional facilities operated by the department of correctional services
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1.  Section 24 of the correction law, as added by chapter 283
     2  of the laws of 1972, subdivision 1 as amended by section 11 of subpart A
     3  of part C of chapter 62 of the  laws  of  2011,  and  subdivision  3  as
     4  amended  by  chapter  466  of  the  laws  of 1978, is amended to read as
     5  follows:
     6    § 24. Civil actions against department personnel and personnel of  the
     7  office  of  mental  health in department facilities.  1. No civil action
     8  shall be brought in any court of  the  state,  except  by  the  attorney
     9  general  on  behalf of the state, against any officer or employee of the
    10  department, which for purposes of this section shall include members  of
    11  the  state  board of parole, or any officer or employee of the office of
    12  mental health who provides services in a program for  the  treatment  of
    13  mentally ill inmates established pursuant to section four hundred one of
    14  this  chapter,  in his or her personal capacity, for damages arising out
    15  of any act done or the failure to perform any act within  the  scope  of
    16  the  employment  and  in  the discharge of the duties by such officer or
    17  employee.
    18    2. Any claim for damages arising out of any act done or the failure to
    19  perform any act within the scope of the employment and in the  discharge
    20  of the duties of any officer or employee of the department, or any offi-
    21  cer  or employee of the office of mental health who provides services in
    22  a program for the treatment of mentally ill inmates established pursuant
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD08245-01-7

        A. 3735                             2
 
     1  to section four hundred one of this chapter, shall be brought and  main-
     2  tained in the court of claims as a claim against the state.
     3    3. This section shall apply with respect to claims arising on or after
     4  the effective date of this section.
     5    §  2.  This  act  shall take effect immediately, and the provisions of
     6  this act shall apply with respect to claims arising  on  or  after  such
     7  date.
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