Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter II. Non-Liability of District Employees.


§ 2–411. Definitions.

As used in this subchapter the term:

(1) “Mayor” means the Mayor of the District of Columbia, or his designated agent.

(2) “Court” means the court in the District of Columbia having the necessary civil jurisdiction pursuant to § 11-501 or § 11-921.

(3) “District” means the government of the District of Columbia, a municipal corporation.

(4) “Emergency run” means the movement of a District-owned vehicle, by direction of the operator or of some other authorized person or agency, under circumstances which lead the operator or such persons or agency to believe that such vehicle should proceed expeditiously upon a particular mission or to a designated location for the purpose of dealing with a supposed fire or other emergency, an alleged violation of a statute or regulation, or other incident requiring emergency action, or the prompt transportation to a place of treatment or greater safety of an alleged sick or injured person.

(5) “Emergency vehicle” means a vehicle assigned:

(A) To the Fire Department of the District or to the Metropolitan Police Department and not designated by the Mayor as a nonemergency vehicle; or

(B) To other departments or officials of the District and designated by the Mayor as an emergency vehicle.

(6) “Employee” means a person serving as an officer or employee of the District, whether or not paid by the District, or a person formerly so engaged, or the representative of a deceased officer or employee of the District.

(7) “Vehicle” means every type of conveyance or machine capable of movement on land, or in water or air, including an animal being ridden and any animal-drawn machinery or conveyance.

(8) “Medical employees of the District of Columbia” shall include physicians, psychologists, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, nurses, nursing assistants, emergency medical technician, emergency medical technician/intermediate paramedic, emergency medical technician/paramedic, physicians’ assistants, laboratory technicians, physical therapists, osteopaths, chiropodists and chiropractors in the employment of the District of Columbia.


(July 14, 1960, 74 Stat. 519, Pub. L. 86-654, § 2; July 8, 1963, 77 Stat. 77, Pub. L. 88-60, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 575, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 157(h); Mar. 26, 1976, D.C. Law 1-59, § 2, 22 DCR 5473; Sept. 28, 1977, D.C. Law 2-25, § 4, 24 DCR 3718; Aug. 1, 1981, D.C. Law 4-25, § 4, 28 DCR 2622; April 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-169, § 2, 43 DCR 4478.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1211.

1973 Ed., § 1-921.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-319.03 and § 44-951.14.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 2–412. Governmental immunity for negligent operation of vehicles by District employees.

Hereafter the District of Columbia shall not assert the defense of governmental immunity in any suit at law in which a claim is asserted against it for money only on account of damage to or loss of property or on account of personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the District occurring as the result of the operation by such employee, within the scope of his office or employment, of a vehicle owned or controlled by the District: Provided, that in the case of a claim arising out of the operation of an emergency vehicle on an emergency run the District shall be liable only for gross negligence. Nothing contained in this subchapter shall be construed as depriving the District of any other defense in law or equity which it may have to any such action or give to any person, corporation, partnership, or association any right to institute or maintain any suit against the District which it did not have prior to July 14, 1960.


(July 14, 1960, 74 Stat. 519, Pub. L. 86-654, § 3.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1212.

1973 Ed., § 1-922.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-413 and § 2-414.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of District of Columbia Employee Non-Liability and Notice of Claim Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-499, October 23, 2002, 49 DCR 10022).


§ 2–413. Action against employee barred by judgment against District; notice of claim; administrative disposition of claim as evidence.

The judgment in any such action shall constitute a complete bar to any action by the claimant by reason of the same subject matter against the employee of the District whose act or omission gave rise to the claim. No suit shall be instituted involving any claim described in § 2-412 unless the claimant shall have first given notice to the District in accordance with § 12-309 and shall have presented to the District in writing a claim for money damages in connection therewith, and the District has had 6 months from the date of such filing within which to make final disposition of such claim. The administrative disposition of a claim by the District shall not be competent evidence of liability or amount of damages in proceedings on any such claim.


(July 14, 1960, 74 Stat. 519, Pub. L. 86-654, § 4.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1213.

1973 Ed., § 1-923.


§ 2–414. Excessive verdicts.

In any case involving any claim described in § 2-412 in which the trial court shall consider the verdict excessive, the court may order a remittitur of so much of the amount of such verdict or judgment, as the case may be, as it considers excessive, and either permit the party in whose favor the verdict was rendered or the party recovering such judgment, as the case may be, to file a remittitur.


(July 14, 1960, 74 Stat. 520, Pub. L. 86-654, § 5.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1214.

1973 Ed., § 1-924.


§ 2–415. Actions against District employees for negligent operation of vehicles barred; indemnification of medical employees; disciplinary actions.

(a) After the effective date of this subchapter, no civil action or proceeding shall be brought or be maintained against an employee of the District for loss of or damage to property or for personal injury, including death, resulting from the operation by such employee of any vehicle if it be alleged in the complaint or developed in a later stage of the proceeding that the employee was acting within the scope of his office or employment, unless the District shall, in an action brought against it for such damage or injury, including death, specifically deny liability on the ground that the employee was not, at the time and place alleged, acting within the scope of his office or employment. If in any such civil action or proceeding pending in a court in the District of Columbia as of the effective date of this subchapter the District has not been named as a defendant, said District shall be joined as a defendant and after its answer has been filed and subject to the provisions of the preceding sentence, the action shall be dismissed as to the employee and the case shall proceed as if the District had been a party defendant from the inception thereof.

(b) Whenever in a case in which the District of Columbia is not a party, a final judgment and order to pay money damages is entered against a medical employee of the District of Columbia on account of damage to or loss of property or on account of personal injury or death caused by the negligent act or omission of the medical employee within the scope of his employment and performance of professional responsibilities, the District of Columbia shall, to the extent the medical employee is not covered by appropriate insurance purchased by the District of Columbia, indemnify the employee in the amount of said money damages.

(b-1) The District of Columbia shall defend and indemnify members of the Commission on Selection and Tenure of Administrative Law Judges of the Office of Administrative Hearings, established by § 2-1831.06, from claims and suits in law or equity arising from acts or omissions in the course and scope of their official duties, other than willful or bad faith misconduct.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict appropriate disciplinary action by the District of Columbia against any employee for a negligent act or omission.


(July 14, 1960, 74 Stat. 520, Pub. L. 86-654, § 6; Mar. 26, 1976, D.C. Law 1-59, § 3, 22 DCR 5473; Dec. 7, 2004, D.C. Law 15-217, § 2, 51 DCR 9126.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1215.

1973 Ed., § 1-925.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1831.06.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-217 added subsec. (b-1).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of District of Columbia Employee Non-Liability and Notice of Claim Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-499, October 23, 2002, 49 DCR 10022).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Commission on Selection and Tenure of Administrative Law Judges Non-Liability Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-389, March 18, 2004, 51 DCR 3387).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Commission on Selection and Tenure of Administrative Law Judges Non-Liability Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-444, June 23, 2004, 51 DCR 6556).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of the Commission on Selection and Tenure of Administrative Law Judges Non-Liability Temporary Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Law 15-169, June 19, 2004, law notification 51 DCR 7334).


§ 2–416. Liability of employee to District for negligent damage to its property.

Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed so as to relieve any District employee from liability to the District for negligent damage to or loss of District property.


(July 14, 1960, 74 Stat. 520, Pub. L. 86-654, § 7.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1216.

1973 Ed., § 1-926.