The laws of the State of New Jersey provide certain protections to state agencies and employees of those agencies when contracts are established with other entities or individuals. Both the Office of the Attorney General and the Bureau of Risk Management have provided the University with the following information on this matter:
“Any agreement or arrangement signed or entered into on behalf of the State of New Jersey by a State official or employee shall be subject to all of the provisions of the New Jersey Tort Claims Act N.J.S.A. 59:1-1, et seq., the New Jersey Contractual Liability Act N.J.S.A. 59:13-1, et seq., and the availability of appropriations. The State of New Jersey does not carry public liability insurance, but the liability of the State and the obligations of the State to be responsible for tort claims against its employees is covered under the terms and provisions of the New Jersey Tort Claims Act.
The Act also creates a special self-insurance fund and provides for payment of claims against the State of New Jersey or against its employees for which the State is obligated to indemnify against tort claims which arise out of the performance of their duties. Claims against the State of New Jersey or its employees arising out of the use of your facility should be referred for handling to the Attorney General, Division of Law, Claims Service Section, Richard Hughes Justice Complex, Trenton, New Jersey 08625.”
Because contracts or other written agreements proposed by outside entities often contain language that could fail to provide adequate protection or expose the University or the State to significant risk, all proposed agreements and contracts must be reviewed by the appropriate administrative offices for approval. Only the Provost, Vice President for Finance and Treasurer, or Senior Vice President for Administration may sign such documents contractually obligating the University.
In the event a tort claim (a civil, not criminal, lawsuit) is filed against the University or any employee who may be individually named in the complaint, legal representation is provided by the Office of the Attorney General (AG). In the case of individually named defendants, representation by the AG is requested by the President of the University. Employees who are carrying out their assigned duties and responsibilities are represented by the AG, although the AG could refuse representation if an employee engages in activities that are not within the scope of his/her responsibilities.
Any employee receiving any type of legal notice should immediately confer with the offices of the appropriate Vice President and the University Cousel.
Students and Public Liability Insurance
The provisions of the Tort Claims Act are not applicable to students. Neither the State nor the University maintain any liability coverage for students. The University may not enter into any agreement under which the University indicates the presence of coverage for students or which indemnifies the contracting party as to the activities of participating students. For the purposes of securing placement in various externship/internship programs, students may be required by the site to maintain pre-professional malpractice insurance. While the University assumes no direct responsibility in this regard, many academic departments refer students to appropriate professional associations which offer students membership and coverage at a reduced fee.
For further information, contact the Executive Assistant to the Provost.