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Federal Law Protects Nonprofit Volunteers-Ready Reference Page

Federal Law Protects Nonprofit Volunteers-Ready Reference Page

The Act reduces standard of liability to gross negligence, flagrant indifference

Finally, the Act does not preclude a nonprofit organization from bringing a suit against one of its own volunteers for damages to the nonprofit. The Volunteer Protection Act certainly does not mean that volunteers will be immune from suit. Plaintiffs’ lawyers representing injured persons will, whenever possible, continue to sue volunteers, by alleging gross negligence, flagrant indifference, or acts outside the scope of the volunteers’ responsibility. Nonprofit entities will continue to be sued as well, however, since they are likely to have "deeper pockets" and will still be liable for acts of their volunteer agents, even if the volunteers are not personally liable. Where the nonprofit has insurance for the claim, which hopefully covers the volunteer as well as the organization, the outcome will probably not be much different under the Act.  If the nonprofit is without insurance, however, the volunteer may have a defense to personal liability not available to the organization.

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