Maryland Tort Claims Act

The Maryland Tort Claims Act applies to UMB as an agency of the State of Maryland. UMB employees and recognized volunteers engaged in their responsibilities on behalf of UMB are State personnel under the Tort Claims Act.

Subject to the terms of the Tort Claims Act, State personnel, including UMB employees, have immunity from legal claims arising from their performance of State employment responsibilities without malice or gross negligence. Claims alleging negligence on the part of UMB personnel must be asserted against the State of Maryland, which has waived its immunity to liability for such claims up to $400,000 per claimant per incident, effective October 1, 2015.  Neither the State nor UMB secures general liability insurance, relying instead on the State’s self-insurance to cover the State’s liability under the Tort Claims Act.  

If a UMB employee’s duties require engagement in activities outside Maryland, and a legal claim is filed in another state’s court against the UMB employee related to out of state work in the course of UMB employment, the employee involved may not have immunity from suit for the claim. In such a case, UMB and the employee may request that the Maryland Office of the Attorney General defend the employee and recommend to the Maryland Board of Public Works that the employee be indemnified by the State for any liability for the claim. The Office of the Attorney General will determine its role in defense of an employee and consider the State’s indemnification obligation with respect to the case. Generally, an employee will be entitled to defense and indemnity if the employee acted in the scope of UMB employment, and without gross negligence or malice.

In limited circumstances, the State or UMB may acquire professional liability insurance covering faculty and employees.  Typically, this is done when faculty and/or staff provide billable health care services through non-profit affiliated organizations established by or authorized by UMB. 

The Tort Claims Act and other State laws, as well as professional liability insurance UMB may acquire, do not protect UMB employees with respect to claims related to personal consulting work (consulting contracts made by the employees, with any consideration paid to the employees, and not to UMB), related to secondary or outside employment, or related to personal activities outside the scope of employment.  Staff and faculty who have secondary employment or undertake consulting work should consult their own legal and insurance advisers to decide whether to secure, at their own cost, insurance to protect them against claims related to outside work.

EHS can provide further information as needed. The Office of University Counsel can provide assistance in reaching the unit of the Office of the Attorney General that works with UMB and its employees.