Good Samartian Law

Good Samaritan legislation is put in place for the protection of volunteers from liability or repercussions as a result of their efforts to help others. As it pertains to the MEAER Task Force, Good Samaritan legislation is needed to protect secondary responders, volunteers helping during an emergency or disaster.

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA) filed a Good Samaritan bill for design professionals and contractors (S.795) during the 2014 legislative session. This bill, sponsored by State Senator Karen Spilka, State Senator Mike Rush, State Representative Smitty Pignatelli and several other legislators, is designed to provide liability protections to design and construction professionals who volunteer during a declared local, state, or federal emergency at the request of public officials.

As part of this effort, ACEC/MA Executive Director Abbie Goodman formed a coalition and organized a panel to testify in support of the bill in front of The Joint Committee on the Judiciary in the State House on October 22, 2013. The panel included Glenn Bell (Testimony), CEO of Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc., Mike Herlihy (Testimony), Executive Vice President, Ames & Gough Insurance Agency and Mehrdad Sasani (Testimony), Chair of the MEAER (Massachusetts Engineers and Architects Emergency Response) Committee and Associate Professor at Northeastern University.

Good Samaritan legislation – Enacted and Signed into Law by the Governor in August 2014:

Chapter 227 of the Acts of 2014, An Act Protecting Certain Persons Who Render Voluntary Services at the Scene of a Disaster or Catastrophe. It reads: “A professional engineer, architect, environmental professional, landscape architect, planner, land surveyor or contractor who voluntarily, without compensation and acting in good faith, provides…services related to a natural disaster or catastrophe at the request of or with the approval of a national, state or local public official, law enforcement official, public safety official, building inspection official or environmental official…shall not be liable for any personal injury, wrongful death, property damage or other loss caused by the professional engineer’s, architect’s, environmental professional’s, landscape architect’s, planner’s, land surveyor’s or contractor’s acts, errors or omissions in the performance of…services for a site, structure, building, facility, project utility, equipment, machine, process, piping or other engineered system or infrastructure, either publicly or privately owned.”

Related links:

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2014/Chapter227

Good Samaritan Legislation Hearing Held on October 22:

http://www.acecma.org/index.cfm/page/Good-Samaritan-Legislation-Hearing-Held-on-October-22/cdid/11475/pid/10243

Civil Engineering Today 9-11-2013: Good Samaritan Bill with Abbie Goodman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGf3CD3ce1c

Fact Sheet:

http://www.engineers.org/tec/file/2013/2013_Good_Samaritan_SB795_Fact_Sheet-5-8-13.pdf

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