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: