1997 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Scott (17th)
House Bill 1120
AN ACT TO CREATE A NEW CODE SECTION TO BE CODIFIED AS SECTION 95-9-4, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY FOR ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS RENDERING CERTAIN VOLUNTARY SERVICE DURING NATURAL DISASTERS; TO AMEND SECTION 95-9-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 95-9-4, Mississippi Code of 1972:
95-9-4. (1) An architect or engineer who voluntarily, without compensation or expectation of compensation, provides structural or building systems inspection services at the scene of a declared national, state or local emergency caused by a major earthquake, flood, tornado, hurricane or other natural disaster at the request of a public safety officer or city or county building inspector acting in an official capacity shall not be liable in negligence for any personal injury or property damage caused by the architect's or engineer's good faith, but negligent, inspection of a structure used for human habitation or a structure owned by a public entity for structural integrity or nonstructural elements affecting life and safety. The immunity provided by this section shall apply only for an inspection that occurs within ninety (90) days of the earthquake, flood, tornado, hurricane or other natural disaster.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to provide immunity for gross negligence or willful misconduct.
(3) As used in this section, "public safety officer" means:
(a) The chief law enforcement officer in a county or city;
(b) A law enforcement officer acting at the specific direction of the chief law enforcement officer; or
(c) The director or such director's assistants of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed as extending immunity to a city or county for whom inspection services, as described herein, are provided.
SECTION 2. Section 95-9-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
95-9-1. (1) For the purposes of this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) "Qualified volunteer" means any person who freely provides services, goods or the use of real or personal property or equipment, without any compensation or charge to any volunteer agency in connection with a volunteer activity. For purposes of this chapter, reimbursement of actual expenses, including travel expenses, necessarily incurred in the discharge of a member's duties, insurance coverage and workers' compensation coverage of volunteers, shall not be considered monetary compensation.
(b) "Volunteer agency" means any department, institution, community volunteer organization or any nonprofit corporation designated 501(c)(3) by the United States Internal Revenue Service, except an agency established primarily for the recreational benefit of its stockholders or members. Volunteer agency shall also include any volunteer fire fighter association which is eligible to be designated as a nonprofit corporation under 501(c)(3) by the United States Internal Revenue Service.
(c) "Volunteer activity" means any activity within the scope of any project, program or other activity regularly sponsored by a volunteer agency with the intent to effect a charitable purpose, or other public benefit including, but not limited to, fire protection, rescue services, services rendered during natural disasters, the enhancement of the cultural, civic, religious, educational, scientific or economic resources of the community or equine activity as provided in Section 95-11-1, et seq.
(2) A qualified volunteer shall not be held vicariously liable for the negligence of another in connection with or as a consequence of his volunteer activities.
(3) A qualified volunteer who renders assistance to a participant in, or a recipient, consumer or user of the services or benefits of a volunteer activity shall not be liable for any civil damages for any personal injury or property damage caused to a person as a result of any acts or omissions committed in good faith except:
(a) Where the qualified volunteer engages in acts or omissions which are intentional, willful, wanton, reckless or grossly negligent; or
(b) Where the qualified volunteer negligently operates a motor vehicle, aircraft, boat or other powered mode of conveyance.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.