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Implementing New Administration Law Enforcement Policies

The journalism community is aggrieved after the U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general cleared an FBI agent of wrongdoing for impersonating a journalist in 2007 to solve a case.

With the recent election of President-elect Donald Trump, many of you in federal law enforcement await the policy changes and refocused initiatives once the Trump administration takes control of the executive branch. How much you will actually be affected may depend on where you work and what law enforcement function you serve at your agency.  Bottom line – if you are responsible for or involved with implementing some of the more controversial initiatives and agendas said to be coming, you may be vulnerable to investigations and/or civil actions as a result of increased scrutiny by Congress and special interest groups, as well as affected individuals. 

Our attorneys have represented agents of the ATF, INS, ICE, FBI, DEA, and EPA in actions where the plaintiffs accused individual agents of violating assorted provisions of the United States Constitution.  These lawsuits run the gamut from allegations of invasion of privacy, to unlawful search and seizure, to the unreasonable use of force, to violations of religious freedom under the First Amendment.  In suits where a federal law enforcement officer is not afforded a government lawyer, FEDS provides defense by knowledgeable and experienced in this type of litigation.  FEDS will also pay damages up to $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 if a judgment in the plaintiff’s favor is issued.

Without liability insurance, you will need a minimum of $100,000 (most likely much more) to pay an attorney to defend you in a civil suit. If you are directly accused of wrongdoing, particularly in an OIG or IA/OPR investigation into allegations of wrongdoing, you will not be assigned an agency attorney. It can easily cost $10,000 to $25,000 to defend yourself in an OIG, OSC, EEO, Congressional, or management investigation. Plan on paying at least $30,000 to $100,000 to take your case through the MSPB if you become the subject of a disciplinary action after the investigation concludes. Most of us simply don’t have this kind of money.  We can, however, find $145 a year (after agency reimbursement, if eligible), or $12 a month, to pay the insurance bill so we have an attorney to defend our job related acts, errors and omissions.

Those FEDS members who became embroiled in the complexities of the federal legal investigative process, even though innocent, were thankful they had the foresight to purchase a professional liability policy.  If you’re not familiar with the Paul Prouty case, visit fedsprotection.com/testimonials.  The investigation, triggered by politics, into this 40-year exemplary employee of GSA – who had the foresight to purchase FEDS liability insurance – is a reminder of how easy it is to make targets of federal officials – and what it does not only to the employee but to his/her family when that employee is accused of wrongdoing.

Following are the most frequently asked questions about FEDS Protection by federal LEOs:

How do I enroll? Call us at 866.955.FEDS Monday – Friday between 8-6pm ET or enroll online anytime at fedsprotection.comIt takes just 5 minutes!

Is FEDS a U.S. Based Company?   Yes.  Headquartered just outside Washington, D.C., FEDS is veteran owned and U.S. based with benefits secured by Nationwide E&S, which is also U.S. owned and based.  Nationwide E&S is an A++XV (Superior) rated insurance company by A. M. Best.

Is FEDS a privately held company? Yes, Tony Vergnetti is FEDS President and Founder.  Prior to founding FEDS, Mr. Vergnetti was an attorney for a federal law enforcement agency and later defended federal officials, including those in law enforcement, while in private practice. Read Tony Vergnetti’s Bio here to learn more about his understanding of and commitment to protecting the federal community. Tony may be reached at 866.955.FEDS or tony@fedsprotection.com.

What is a retroactive date?  This is only applicable to employees switching to FEDS from another PLI company.  For claims under the Civil portion of the policy, FEDS honors the "original retroactive date", which is the very first date continuous professional liability insurance was purchased from any provider. Please see Section I, Civil Suit Coverage, A. Insuring Agreement and Claims Made Clause ("effective date of continuous coverage"). If you first purchased professional liability insurance in January 1999, your "retro date" is January 1999 and you are covered for any civil claims that occur while you are a policy holder with FEDS for matters that involved acts, errors or omissions between January 1999 through the present.

Is it true that FEDS will appoint, in certain cases, coverage counsel prior to DOJ’s determination of scope and interest? Yes, FEDS understands that having an attorney advocating on an officer’s behalf is very important during this decision process.  FEDS policy holders should also note that FEDS will not deny a policyholder claim if he/she chooses to get advice or counseling from FLEOA or other association legal counsel and later needs to invoke FEDS PLI policy benefits.

Does FEDS cap civil suit representation at $200,000?  No, FEDS affords policy holders defense and indemnification up to the full limits of the $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 policy as legal fees associated with the unique nature of federal employee claims could exceed $200,000. 

Is worldwide protection offered? Yes, worldwide protection is essential to those serving outside of CONUS or otherwise in international posts of duties and, unlike other carriers, is included at no additional cost.

Is civil suit coverage available after leaving federal service? Yes, the policy provides a “tail” or “36-month extended reporting period” which provides civil protection for up to three years after service ends, at no additional cost.

Does FEDS offer LEOSA coverage to active federal LEOs? Yes, FEDS LEOSA coverage was designed to specifically protect current agents lawfully acting under LEOSA HR218 authority from legal expenses and liability associated with off-duty carry or actions found outside of agency authority.

You must have coverage in place prior to an incident or claim or COVERAGE WILL NOT APPLY!  Enrollment takes less than 5 minutes – and payroll deduction is available.  Visit fedsprotection.com or call 866.955.FEDS Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 6:00pm ET to enroll over the phone.  

 

 

Image: "Dereham Norfolk" by fernando butcher is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped from original

 


FEDS provides professional liability insurance for the entire federal law enforcement community. For information on your specific exposures, how professional liability insurance protects, or how the FEDS program differs from other insurance programs, visit us on the web at fedsprotection.com and choose the position or agency that best describes your job and professional responsibilities.

Posted in The Spotlight

Tags: law enforcement officer, FEDS, professional liability insurance, federal employee defense services, law enforcement officers

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