LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Adam L Rothenberg | May 25, 2013

Charitable Immunity in New Jersey

New Jersey offers protection from lawsuits against Charitable orgnanizations. This statutory protection prohibits recovery against the charitable organization if the criteria are met. While there are exceptions and a statute which allows recovery up to $250,000 against a hospital, it serves to bar most claims agasint these entities. It does not apply to the individual employees.

The ELEMENTS OF CHARITABLE IMMUNITY

  1. it was formed for non-profit purposes
  2. is organized exclusively for religious, charitable or educational purposes; and
  3. was promoting such objectives and purposes at the time the individual was injured who was then abeneficiary of the charitable works. Bieker v. Comm. House of Moorestown, 169 N.J. 167, 175 (2001).Classically there are 3 prongs, but I think that it should be separated into 4, since the last really entails showing that it was engaged in promoting the objectives and purposes AND plaintiff was a beneficiary – separate issues

The statute that creates this immunity is:

2A:53A-7. Non-profit corporations and associations organized for religious, charitable, educational or hospital purposes; liability for negligence

a. No nonprofit corporation, society or association 1) organized exclusively for 2)religious, charitable or educational purposes or its trustees, directors, officers, employees, agents, servants or volunteers shall, except as is hereinafter set forth, be liable to respond in damages to any person who shall suffer damage from the negligence of any agent or servant of such corporation, society or association, 3) where such person is a beneficiary, to whatever degree, of the works of such nonprofit corporation, society or association; provided, however, that such immunity from liability shall not extend to any person who shall suffer damage from the negligence of such corporation, society, or association or of its agents or servants where such person 4) is one unconcerned in and unrelated to and outside of the benefactions of such corporation, society or association. Nothing in this subsection shall be deemed to grant immunity to any health care provider, in the practice of his profession, who is a compensated employee, agent or servant of any nonprofit corporation, society or association organized exclusively for religious, charitable or educational purposes. .....

c. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to grant immunity to: (1) any trustee, director, officer, employee, agent, servant or volunteer causing damage by a willful, wanton or grossly negligent act of commission or omission, including sexual assault and other crimes of a sexual nature; (2) any trustee, director, officer, employee, agent, servant or volunteer causing damage as the result of the negligent operation of a motor vehicle; or (3) an independent contractor of a nonprofit corporation, society or association organized exclusively for religious, charitable, educational or hospital purposes.

When dealing with a situation where you anticipate a claim against a charitable entity or persons who are employed in that capacity, it would be wise to consult with experienced personal injury counsel.

Many states have similar statutes. It is best to find out from local counsel what the statute is in your state, if any.

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