1. The governing body shall defend its officers and employees, whether elected or appointed and shall save harmless and indemnify the officers and employees against any tort claim or demand, whether groundless or otherwise, arising out of an alleged act or omission occurring within the scope of their employment or duties. However, the duty to save harmless and indemnify does not apply to awards for punitive damages. The exception for punitive damages does not prohibit a governing body from purchasing insurance to protect its officers and employees from punitive damages. The duty to save harmless and indemnify does not apply and the municipality is entitled to restitution by an officer or employee if, in an action commenced by the municipality against the officer or employee, it is determined that the conduct of the officer or employee upon which the tort claim or demand was based constituted a willful and wanton act or omission. Any independent or autonomous board or commission of a municipality having authority to disburse funds for a particular municipal function without approval of the governing body shall similarly defend, save harmless and indemnify its officers and employees against tort claims or demands.
Terms Used In Iowa Code 670.8
- Governing body: means the council of a city, county board of supervisors, board of township trustees, local school board, and other boards and commissions exercising quasi-legislative, quasi-executive, and quasi-judicial power over territory comprising a municipality. See Iowa Code 670.1
- Municipality: means city, county, township, school district, a chapter 28E entity as provided in section 670. See Iowa Code 670.1
- Officer: includes but is not limited to the members of the governing body. See Iowa Code 670.1
- Tort: means every civil wrong which results in wrongful death or injury to person or injury to property or injury to personal or property rights and includes but is not restricted to actions based upon negligence; error or omission; nuisance; breach of duty, whether statutory or other duty or denial or impairment of any right under any constitutional provision, statute or rule of law. See Iowa Code 670.1
2. The duties to defend and to save harmless and indemnify shall apply whether or not the municipality is a party to the action and shall include but not be limited to cases arising under 42 U.S.C. §1983.
3. In the event the officer or employee fails to cooperate in the defense against the claim or demand, the municipality shall have a right of indemnification against that officer or employee.