ACTIONS IN PARTICULAR CASES
TORT CLAIMS AGAINST GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES
6-903. Liability of governmental entities — Defense of employees. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this act, every governmental entity is subject to liability for money damages arising out of its negligent or otherwise wrongful acts or omissions and those of its employees acting within the course and scope of their employment or duties, whether arising out of a governmental or proprietary function, where the governmental entity if a private person or entity would be liable for money damages under the laws of the state of Idaho, provided that the governmental entity is subject to liability only for the pro rata share of the total damages awarded in favor of a claimant which is attributable to the negligent or otherwise wrongful acts or omissions of the governmental entity or its employees. When the claim for damages arises from construction, operation or maintenance of an impoundment, canal, lateral, drain or associated facilities that are under the supervision or control of the operating agency of irrigation districts whose board consists of directors of its member districts, then such board and its member districts shall be considered a single governmental unit and the claim may be brought and pursued only against the operating unit.
(2) (i) A governmental entity shall provide a defense to its employee, including a defense and indemnification against any claims brought against the employee in the employee’s individual capacity when the claims are related to the course and scope of employment, and be responsible for the payment of any judgment on any claim or civil lawsuit against an employee for money damages arising out of any act or omission within the course and scope of his employment; provided that the governmental entity and its employee shall be subject to liability only for the pro rata share of the total damages awarded in favor of a claimant which is attributable to the act or omission of the employee; (ii) provided further, that to the extent there is valid and collectible, applicable insurance or any other right to defense or indemnification legally available to and for the protection of an employee, while operating or using an automobile, aircraft or other vehicle not owned or leased by the governmental entity and while acting within the course and scope of his/her employment or duties, the governmental entity’s duty hereunder to indemnify the employee and/or defend any such claim or lawsuit arising out of the operation or use of such personal automobile, aircraft or vehicle, shall be secondary to the obligation of the insurer or indemnitor of such automobile, aircraft or vehicle, whose obligation shall be primary; and (iii) provided further, this subsection shall not be construed to alter or relieve any such indemnitor or insurer of any legal obligation to such employee or to any governmental entity vicariously liable on account of or legally responsible for damages due to the allegedly wrongful error, omissions, conduct, act or deed of such employee.
(3) The defense of its employee by the governmental entity shall be undertaken whether the claim and civil lawsuit is brought in Idaho district court under Idaho law or is brought in a United States court under federal law. The governmental entity may refuse a defense or disavow and refuse to pay any judgment for its employee if it is determined that the act or omission of the employee was not within the course and scope of his employment or included malice or criminal intent.
(4) A governmental entity shall not be entitled to contribution or indemnification or reimbursement for legal fees and expenses from its employee unless a court shall find that the act or omission of the employee was outside the course and scope of his employment or included malice or criminal intent. Any action by a governmental entity against its employee and any action by an employee against the governmental entity for contribution, indemnification or necessary legal fees and expenses shall be tried to the court in the same civil lawsuit brought on the claim against the governmental entity or its employee.
(5) For the purposes of this act and not otherwise, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that any act or omission of an employee within the time and at the place of his employment is within the course and scope of his employment and without malice or criminal intent.
(6) Nothing in this act shall enlarge or otherwise adversely affect the liability of an employee or a governmental entity. Any immunity or other bar to a civil lawsuit under Idaho or federal law shall remain in effect. The fact that a governmental entity may relieve an employee from all necessary legal fees and expenses and any judgment arising from the civil lawsuit shall not under any circumstances be communicated to the trier of fact in the civil lawsuit.
(7) When a claim asserted against an employee in the employee’s individual capacity is dismissed by the court, the dismissed party shall have the right to a hearing pursuant to the provisions of section 12-123, Idaho Code.
[6-903, added 1976, ch. 309, sec. 4, p. 1064; am. 1978, ch. 272, sec. 2, p. 630; am. 1980, ch. 218, sec. 1, p. 490; am. 1984, ch. 140, sec. 1, p. 329; am. 2005, ch. 260, sec. 2, p. 804; am. 2011, ch. 197, sec. 1, p. 578.]