Legal Question in Legal Ethics in District of Columbia

I formed a 501(c) 3 organization and had volunteers working for me. One of the volunteers assaulted (grabbed a teen in the chest) while returning from a camp. Am I or my organization responsible?

Asked on 8/14/10, 2:37 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Phillip M. Cook Cook Legal Services, LLC
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The general answer is "no", as Maryland is one of the few states that still recognizes the principal of "charitable immunity", meaning that a charity and its officers, directors, and volunteers are immune from law suits if certain conditions are met (such as the volunteer was working within the scope of the organization's mission, was not involved in criminal activity, etc.). The specific answer is "it depends." Do you have D&O insurance? Have criminal charges been filed against the volunteer? In this case, it sounds like there was an intentional, criminal act. As such, I would strongly urge that you hire a Maryland litigator who specializes in corporate/business matters to discuss the specifics of your case and determine the best way to insulate yourself and your charity. Best of luck. ******The above does not establish an attorney-client relationship and is intended solely for informational purposes.******

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8/21/10, 5:33 pm

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