NYS Public Officers Law §17 affords protection to state officers and employees against personal liability in the event that such officers and employees are sued individually as a result of any cause of action which may arise by reason of an act or omission which occurs “while the employee was acting within the scope of his public employment or duties . . . .” Former employees and certain volunteers are also covered where appropriate.
In addition, NYS Public Officers Law §19 pursuant to which reimbursement is authorized for criminal defense expenses incurred by state officers and employees upon acquittal or dismissal of criminal charges brought against the officer or employee. This law requires the state to pay reasonable attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses incurred by a state officer or employee in the defense of a criminal proceeding in a state or federal court. The criminal proceeding must arise out of an act which occurred while the officer or employee was acting within the scope of his or her public employment or duties.
The scope of criminal and civil indemnification protection for officers and employees of the state includes State University of New York officers, employees, trustees and council members serving the state-operated campuses, and authorized volunteers.
SUNY Policy 6301 – Defense and Indemnification of State Officers and Employees External link provides an overview of the aforementioned sections of the NYS Public Officers Law.