Emergency Law Inventory | Full Law Text

Law Number

N.D. Cent. Code, 37-17.1-21

Summary Title

Liability: Clearing Debris


When an emergency declaration is in effect, an individual, who is either appointed by a government entity to remove debris or who is a member of a state agency directed to remove debris, will not be held legally responsible for injury, death, or damage to property. They can be held legally responsible for acting with extreme carelessness or intent to cause harm.

Full Title

Debris and wreckage removal in disasters or emergencies

Full Text

The governor is authorized to enter into such agreements and execute such assurances on behalf of the state of North Dakota as may be necessary to establish, in the event of a disaster or emergency, a program of debris and wreckage removal caused by a disaster. The governor is authorized: 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, through the use of state departments or agencies, or the use of any of the state’s instrumentalities, to clear or remove from publicly or privately owned land or water, debris and wreckage which may threaten public health or safety, or threaten public or private property, in any disaster or emergency declared by the governor. 2. To accept funds from the federal government and utilize such funds to make grants to any local government for the purpose of removing debris or wreckage from publicly or privately owned land or water. Authority under sections 37-17.1-19, 37-17.1-20, and 37-17.1-21 may not be exercised, except upon state-owned lands, unless the affected local government, corporation, limited liability company, organization, or individual first presents an unconditional authorization for removal of such debris or wreckage from public and private property and, in the case of removal of debris or wreckage from private property, first agrees to indemnify the state government against any claim arising from such removal. Whenever the governor provides for clearance of debris or wreckage pursuant to subsection 1 or 2, employees of the designated state agencies or individuals appointed by the state are authorized to enter upon private land or waters and perform any tasks necessary to the removal or clearance operation. Except in cases of willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith, any state employee or agent complying with orders of the governor and performing duties pursuant thereto under sections 37-17.1-19, 37-17.1-20, and 37-17.1-21 is not liable for death of or injury to persons or damage to property. The governor shall establish guidelines to carry out the purposes of sections 37-17.1-19, 37-17.1-20, and 37-17.1-21.