ASSEMBLY, No. 3495

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED NOVEMBER 15, 2010

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  MICHAEL PATRICK CARROLL

District 25 (Morris)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Expands immunity from civil liability in connection with provision of 9-1-1 service.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning immunity from civil liability in connection with provision of 9-1-1 service, amending P.L.1989, c.3.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 10 of P.L.1983, c.3 (C.52:17C-10) is amended to read as follows:

     10.  a. Whenever possible and practicable, telephone companies shall forward to jurisdictional public safety answering points via enhanced 9-1-1 network features, the telephone number and street address of any telephone used to place a 9-1-1 call.  Subscriber information provided in accordance with this section shall be used only for the purpose of responding to emergency calls or for the investigation of false or intentionally misleading reports of incidents requiring emergency service.

     b.    (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1999, c.125).

     c.     No telephone company, person providing commercial mobile radio service as defined in 47 U.S.C.s. 332(d), public safety answering point, private safety agency, public safety agency or other public entity, or any employee, director, officer, or agent of any such entity, or manufacturer supplying equipment to a telephone company, wireless telephone company, or PSAP, or any employee, director, officer, or agent of any such entity, shall be liable for damages to any person who uses or attempts to use the enhanced 9-1-1 service, wireless 9-1-1 service or wireless enhanced 9-1-1 service established under [this act] P.L.1989, c.3 (C.52:17C-1 et seq.) for release of the information specified in this section, including non-published telephone numbers.  This limitation of liability is inapplicable if such failure resulted from a malicious purpose or a wanton and willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.

     d.    No telephone company, person providing commercial mobile radio service as defined in 47 U.S.C.s. 332(d), public safety answering point, private safety agency, public safety agency or other public entity, or any employee, director, officer, or agent of any such entity, or manufacturer supplying equipment to a telephone company, wireless telephone company, or PSAP, or any employee, director, officer, or agent of any such entity, shall be liable to any person for civil damages or injury, or subject to criminal prosecution resulting from or caused by any act, failure or omission in the development, design, installation, operation, maintenance, performance or provisioning of any hardware, software, or any other aspect of delivering enhanced 9-1-1 service, wireless 9-1-1 service or wireless enhanced 9-1-1 service.  This limitation of liability is inapplicable if such failure resulted from a malicious purpose or a wanton and willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.

     e.     No telephone company, person providing commercial mobile radio service as defined in 47 U.S.C.s. 332(d), public safety answering point, private safety agency, public safety agency or other public entity, or any employee, director, officer, or agent of any such entity, or manufacturer supplying equipment to a telephone company, wireless telephone company, or PSAP, or any employee, director, officer, or agent of any such entity, shall be subject to criminal prosecution or civilly liable to any person for damages or injury resulting from any act or omission in connection with any communication to law enforcement, emergency response personnel, or any relevant party, including, but not limited to, the following acts or omissions:

     (1)   the failure or omission to accurately or completely communicate to law enforcement, emergency response personnel, or any other party any information that has been communicated by a person communicating with the entity as a result of a call to 9-1-1;

     (2)   the failure or omission to ask any question of any person communicating with the entity as a result of a call to 9-1-1;

     (3)   the failure or omission to provide any information to any person communicating with the entity as a result of a call to 9-1-1;

     (4)   the failure or omission to act in accordance with any policy or guidelines established by the entity; or

     (5)   any act or omission in connection with such entity's provision of any lawful assistance to any investigative or law enforcement officer of this State or a political subdivision of this State, of the United States, or of any other state or a political subdivision of such state in connection with any lawful investigation by or other law enforcement activity of the law enforcement officer [unless].

     The provisions of this subsection shall be liberally construed in favor of providing immunity from criminal or civil liability for damages or injury arising from acts or omissions of the foregoing entities and personnel, but such immunity shall not be granted if the entity[, in providing such assistance] acted in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.

(cf: P.L.1999, c.125, s.5)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     Current law provides immunity for from liability for certain actions or omissions undertaken in the provision of 9-1-1 service.  In Massachi v. City of Newark Police Department, 2010 N.J. Super. LEXIS 151 (App.Div. 2010), the New Jersey Appellate Division held that the statutory immunity of N.J.S.A.52:17C-10 does not afford immunity to public entities or its employees for actions or omissions that do not adhere to certain standards involving the provision of 9-1-1 services.  This bill amends the statute to clarify that private safety entities, and all public entities, including, but not limited to, public safety entities, are immune from all civil and criminal liability for their, or any other entity’s, provision of 9-1-1 service.

     In addition, the bill would expand the circumstances under which entities are immune to civil or criminal liability.  In its present form, subsection e. of section 10 of P.L.1989, c.3 (C.52:17C-10) provides that telephone companies, persons providing commercial mobile radio service as defined in 47 U.S.C.s. 332(d), public safety answering points (“PSAPs”), or manufacturers supplying equipment to a telephone company, wireless telephone company, or PSAP or any employees, directors, officers, or agents of any such entities are not civilly liable for damages resulting from damages connected with the provision of any lawful assistance to any investigative or law enforcement officer in connection with any lawful investigation by or other law enforcement activity of the law enforcement officer.       This bill would provide that the foregoing entities, including any private safety entity, public safety entity, or other public entity would be immune from civil or criminal liability for any act or omission in connection with any communication to law enforcement, emergency response personnel, or any relevant party including, but not limited to, the following: (1) the failure or omission to accurately or completely communicate to law enforcement, emergency response personnel, or any other party any information that has been communicated by a person communicating with the entity as a result of a call to 9-1-1; (2) the failure or omission to ask any question of any person communicating with the entity as a result of a call to 9-1-1; (3) the failure or omission to provide any information to a any person communicating with the entity as a result of a call to 9-1-1; the failure to act in accordance with a policy or guidelines established by the entity; or (5) any act or omission in connection with such entity's provision of any lawful assistance to any investigative or law enforcement officer.

     The provisions of the bill shall be liberally construed in favor of providing immunity from criminal or civil liability for damages or injury arising from acts or omissions of the foregoing entities and personnel.  The bill provides that such immunity shall not be granted if the entity acted in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.