IRB Manual
      2.2 Legal Liability of IRB Members
   

All IRB members at facilities operated by the Department of Mental Hygiene, including any of its component agencies (OMH, OPWDD and OASAS), are covered by the provisions of Section 17 of the Public Officers Law.  They should be enrolled as an authorized volunteer of the institution if they are not a staff member of that particular institution.  The institution's volunteer coordinator should be contacted for the information needed to enroll IRB members as volunteers.

The State is obligated by the Public Officers Law to defend and indemnify State employees and volunteers sued in any civil action for acts or omissions allegedly occurring in the course of their State duties. Defense consists of representation by an assistant attorney general, or in certain circumstances, by State payment of a private attorney's fees. Indemnification consists of payment of judgment or approved settlement in any amount.  To secure the right to defense and indemnification, the employee or volunteer must deliver any legal papers he receives, such as a summons or complaint, to an attorney at an office of the Department of Law within five (5) days and fully cooperate in the defense of the suit or any related suit. (For further information, please contact your agency's Counsel's Office.)  The limitations to this protection are:


 
(1)   
Defense and indemnification are not provided when the suit is brought by, or on behalf of, the State;

 
(2)   
Indemnification will not be provided if the employee's act or omission did not occur in the course of his duties;

 
(3)   
Indemnification will not be provided for punitive or exemplary damages, fines or penalties or if the employee's wrongful act or omission is found to have been intentional.

   

In addition to delivering a copy of the legal papers to the Department of Law, the IRB member should also provide the Director of the Institution with a copy.  The Director is responsible for informing the appropriate Departmental Counsel's Office and the RFMH.

A record of attendance must be kept for all members of the IRB for periods when they are performing their official duties. At formal meetings of the IRB, a record of attendance in the minutes (which show the date, time and place of the IRB meeting) is sufficient.  Records of other activities, e.g., site visits, consent monitoring, should be kept by the IRB or by the Institution's coordinator of volunteer services.
           
Relevant Legislation:


 
(1)   
Section 17 of the Public Officers Law.

 
(2)   
Section 7.35 of the Mental Hygiene Law.  (Persons rendering professional services at facilities operated by OMH.)

 
(3)   
Section 13.35 of the Mental Hygiene Law.  (Persons rendering professional services at facilities operated by OPWDD.)

 
(4)   
Section 19.15 of the Mental Hygiene Law.  (Volunteers of the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.)

 
(5)   
Section 19.13 of the Mental Hygiene Law. (Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.)

 
(6)   
Section 19.21 of the Mental Hygiene Law.  (Persons rendering professional services at facilities operated by Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.)
     
   


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