Chapter 4

ARTICLE XIX. Liability Protection for Case Western Reserve Employees

General Statement of Policy

Case Western Reserve University extends liability protection to individuals while acting within the course and scope of their employment on behalf of the institution, in the good faith performance of their assigned responsibilities. The University will indemnify and fully defend any employee so long as: 1) he or she was acting in good faith, 2) in the course and scope of his or her employment, and 3) with the reasonable belief that he or she was acting in the best interests of the University.

Procedure for Determinations of Indemnification

In an individual case, the decision regarding whether indemnification will be afforded depends on the circumstances giving rise to the claim. The initial decision is made by the University Office of Risk Management and Insurance in consultation with the University Office of General Counsel and, if necessary, senior officers of the University. The final decision is made after the resolution of the claim. Regardless of whether indemnification and/or defense is initially provided, the University reserves the right to refuse indemnification and to recoup the costs of defense in cases where ultimately it is determined that the employee did not act in accordance with the above General Statement of Policy. The Office of Risk Management and Insurance and/or senior officers of the University making a decision about indemnification or defense of a faculty member may consult with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee for guidance on the decision.

In all cases, however, the University will defend the employee until and unless it becomes clear that indemnification will not be afforded. In any situation where indemnification and/or defense of the employee is not to be provided, or having been provided, is to be withdrawn or terminated, the employee will be advised of that decision as soon as reasonably possible and further will be advised to obtain separate legal counsel. For a reasonable period of time after such notification or until the affected employee obtains separate counsel, whichever earlier occurs, the University will protect the rights of the affected employee.

Examples of Factors to be Considered

In determining whether an employee was acting 1) in good faith, 2) within the course and scope of his or her employment, or 3) with the reasonable belief that he or she was acting in the best interests of the University, the following factors, while not constituting an exhaustive list, will be considered. However, nothing in the following provisions or in this statement of policy should be construed or interpreted to impinge in any way upon the academic freedom of faculty members:

  1. In general, ordinary negligence or carelessness of an employee in the performance of his or her assigned duties, which results in a claim against the employee, would result in indemnification by the University. Conduct that is characterized as grossly negligent or intentional wrongdoing may not be indemnified.

  2. Employees will not be indemnified by the University with respect to claims made against them that arise from outside consulting or practice or other activity that is not a part of their assigned University responsibilities.

  3. Employees should consult with their superiors and/or the Office of General Counsel with respect to conduct or activities that might reasonably result in a claim against them. An employee's failure or refusal to follow the counsel and advice of superiors or the Office of General Counsel on a particular matter might result in a denial of indemnification if a claim is later made pertaining to that matter.

  4. In all cases where indemnification is afforded by the University, the ultimate decisions regarding the handling of the claim and whether or not to settle any claim shall be made by the University through its designated officers. Every effort shall be made, however, to consult with the affected employee and to consider any legitimate concerns of the affected employee as to the handling and resolution of the claim.


Employees are asked to notify the Office of Risk Management & Insurance or the Office of the General Counsel at once if any incident takes place that could lead to a claim. These offices will provide assistance in handling such matters.