[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Cranford 3-10-1998 by Ord. No. 98-1; amended in its entirety 9-12-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-34 (Ch. 18 of the 1992 Code). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Except as hereinafter provided, the Township of Cranford shall, upon the request of any present or former official, employee or appointee of the Township, provide for indemnification and legal defense of any civil action brought against said person or persons arising from an act or omission falling within the scope of their public duties.
The terms of this chapter and the definitions of "official," "employee" and "appointee" are to be construed liberally in order to effectuate the purposes of this chapter, except that these terms shall not mean:
Any person who is not a natural person;
Any person, except any employee, while providing goods or services of any kind under any contract with the Township except an employment contract;
Any person while providing legal or engineering services for compensation unless said person is an employee of the Township; and
Any person who, as a condition of his or her appointment or contract, is required to indemnify and defend the Township and/or secure insurance.
The Township shall provide for defense of and indemnify any present or former official, employee or appointee of the Township who becomes a defendant in a civil action if the person or persons involved acted or failed to act in a matter in which the Township has or had an interest; acted or failed to act in the discharge of a duty imposed or authorized by law; and acted or failed to take action in good faith. For purposes of this chapter, the duty and authority of the Township to defend and indemnify shall extend to a cross-claim or counterclaim against said person.
The Township is not required to indemnify any person against the payment of punitive damages, penalties, or fines but may provide for the legal defense of such claims in accord with the standards set forth herein, and may indemnify an employee for exemplary or punitive damages resulting from the employee's civil violation of state or federal law if, in the opinion of the Township Committee, the acts committed by the employee upon which the damages are based did not constitute actual fraud, actual malice, willful misconduct or an intentional wrong. The Township may refuse to provide for the defense and indemnification of any civil action referred to herein if the Township Committee of the Township of Cranford determines that:
In any other action or proceeding, including criminal proceedings, the Township may provide for the defense of a present or former official, employee or appointee if the Township Committee of the Township of Cranford concludes that such representation is in the best interest of the Township and that the person to be defended acted or failed to act in accord with the standards set forth in this chapter.
Whenever the Township provides for the defense of any action set forth herein and as a condition of such defense, the Township may assume exclusive control over the representation of such person defended and such person shall cooperate fully with the Township.
The Township may provide for the defense pursuant to this chapter by authorizing its Attorney to act in behalf of the person being defended or by employing other counsel for this purpose or by asserting the right of the Township under any appropriate insurance policy that requires the insurer to provide defense.
Whenever any employee shall be named as a defendant in any action or legal proceeding arising out of or related to his/her employment, said employee shall immediately notify his/her immediate supervisor of the same and shall immediately provide the Township Clerk with a copy of the summons, warrant or complaint in the matter. The Township Clerk shall immediately notify the Township Administrator and Township Attorney.
Whenever a member or officer of the Cranford Police Department or Cranford Fire Department or the Municipal Clerk shall be a defendant in any action or legal proceeding arising out of and directly related to the lawful exercise of police powers in furtherance of his/her official duties (in the case of police) or arising out of or incidental to the performance of his/her duties (in the case of fire) or related to the lawful exercise of his/her authority in the furtherance of official duties (in the case of the Clerk), the Township Committee shall provide said officer or employee with necessary means for defense in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-155 (in the case of police), N.J.S.A. 40A:14-28 (in the case of fire) or N.J.S.A. 40A:9-134.1 (in the case of the Clerk), as the case may be, except as hereinafter set forth.
In the event of a disciplinary proceeding or criminal proceeding instituted by or on complaint of the municipality as per Subsection A above, the Township of Cranford shall not initially provide the means for defense, but if any such disciplinary or criminal proceeding shall be dismissed or finally determined in favor of the officer or employee, he/she shall be reimbursed for the reasonable costs of defense, as provided by N.J.S.A. 40A:14-155, 40A:14-28 or 40A:9-134.1, as the case may be.
If a Township of Cranford employee requests a defense as authorized by this chapter, an attorney may be appointed to provide a defense if the attorney is a member in good standing of the New Jersey Bar, the attorney agrees in writing to be bound by the terms of the Township's outside legal services agreement and a resolution authorizing such appointment, based upon evaluation of the specific circumstances of each request, is adopted.
If an appointed attorney, after undertaking the matter, has reason to believe that the amount appropriated in the appointment resolution will be insufficient, he/she may make an application for an increase in the appropriation. Said application must be supported by a certified statement for services rendered to the date of said application, including but not limited to an itemized record of the time spent and a good faith estimate of time required for future services. The Cranford Township Administrator and Township Attorney must be notified, in writing, as soon as it appears the additional legal work will exceed the appropriation, and no invoice in excess of the appropriation will be paid unless the Cranford Township Committee adopts a resolution amending the sum set forth in the appointing resolution.
All appointed counsel shall submit monthly billing statements to the Township Treasurer with a copy to the Township Attorney, including each date on which legal services were provided, a description of each service and the time spent, in tenths of an hour. All notices and billings sent pursuant to this agreement shall be in writing and delivered by mailing the same by regular mail to the appropriate official at the address set forth below:
The attorney providing representation for a Township of Cranford employee shall agree to represent that employee on all claims filed against that employee (e.g., compensatory and punitive damages).
[Amended 7-9-2019 by Ord. No. 2019-06]
The following maximum attorney fee payments are initially authorized for a defense:
The attorney providing representation for an employee in any action or legal proceeding, once appointed by a resolution of the Cranford Township Committee, shall be compensated in accordance with the rate(s) and fee schedule as set forth in his/her contract with the Township. No payment shall be allowed for staff, secretarial or paralegal services.
In special circumstances, legal fee arrangements other than as set forth herein as authorized by resolution of the Township Committee when it is believed that the best interest of the Township will be served in such engagement.
The fee schedule for reimbursement of legal fees for the defense of a Township of Cranford employee may be revised by ordinance adopted by the Township Committee.