Volunteer Protection Act

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The federal Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 (the VPA or the Act)[1] aims to promote volunteerism by limiting, and in many cases completely eliminating, a volunteer's risk of tort liability when acting for nonprofit organizations or government entities.


People who volunteer to assist nonprofit organizations or government agencies or programs run the risk that their actions, while well-intentioned, may cause harm to another. If those actions are deemed negligent, the volunteer may face civil liability for damages caused by the negligent conduct.[2]


  1. ^ The Act (S.543) was signed by President Clinton on 18 June 1997 and became effective ninety days thereafter. It was Pub. L. 105-19, 111 Stat. 221, and is codified at 42 U.S.C. 14501-05.
  2. ^ See generally Prosser and Keeton on Torts, 5th Edition (West Group 1984) ISBN 0-314-09256-0 (Prosser & Keeton); Prosser, Wade, and Schwartz's Torts: Cases and Materials, 10th Edition (Foundation Press 2000) ISBN 1-56662-955-1 (Prosser & Wade); Restatement of the Law, Second, Torts 2d, Revised Edition (American Law Institute 1965)(Restatement); Harper, James and Gray on Torts, Third Edition (Aspen Publishers 1995)(Harper & James); Exploring Tort Law, M. Stuart Madden (Cambridge University Press, 2005) ISBN 0-521-85136-X.

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