As a benefit to the FOP Membership, the FOP, through its Legal Aid Plan, offers to assist in the legal defense of members in good standing with the State Lodge and their local lodge when such members face litigation or prosecution for acts within the scope of a member’s employment as a law enforcement officer.
There are two Legal Aid Plans for Active Members: The National FOP Legal Defense Plan and the NCFOP State Lodge Legal Aid Plan.
The following information is for the State Lodge Legal Aid Plan. The State Lodge Plan will continue to consider all Administrative requests from members and Criminal, Civil and Administrative requests from Affiliate members (for those Affiliate members not eligible for the National Legal Aid Plan) when such members face litigation or prosecution for acts within the scope of a member’s employment as a law enforcement officer.
The National FOP Legal Defense Plan considers all Criminal and Civil requests from Active members and those Affiliate members who are eligible for the National plan.
Both the State Lodge Legal Aid Plan and the National Legal Defense Fund are for those situations where the law enforcement officer inflicts fatal or serious injuries upon a person or persons, is sued for civil damages or prosecuted on criminal charges related to any incident which occurs within the members’ scope of employment or faces suspension without pay or termination as a result of any incident that occurs within the member’s scope of employment.
Please note that the State Legal Aid Plan (like the National Plan) does not provide coverage for civil actions, lawsuits, or related proceedings that are initiated by or proposed to be initiated by any member, irrespective of whether they are an Active or Affiliate Member. Please make sure that your members understand this.
Immediate legal defense is available to the member upon the authorization of any Local Lodge Board of Directors member in cases of an incident where the officer/member is involved in a situation where serious or fatal injuries have occurred as a result of an office/member’s actions within the scope of his/her employment.
The FOP’s assistance is available when the member contacts a Local Lodge Board of Directors member and advises they have been involved in a critical incident.
In critical incident situations, Local Lodge officers should immediately contact an attorney for the member. The necessary filings should be completed and submitted within the next few days
The required paperwork for Affiliate members (not eligible for the National Plan) is the NCFOP Legal Aid Plan Application and Legal Aid Plan Agreement. For Active members, the National Claim Reporting Form should be completed and submitted within a few days.
Incident must occur in the performance of the officer’s official duty. Any alleged or actual act or omission that is not duty related will not be covered.
Any claims for payment which are not specifically related to legal defense matters, will not be covered.
The legal defense fund is applicable to payment of claims not covered by insurance or other contributors. An exception occurs where the member-applicant belongs to a lodge which has a legal defense fund in place. In those cases, the State Lodge Plan or National Plan will pay legal claims first before the member-applicant need apply for local monies.
The provision of Legal Defense Funds is designed solely to assist active members of the NC FOP with their legal defense in appropriate actions; however, in the provision of such funds, the NC FOP assumes no responsibility for the actions or inactions of its members
LEGAL AID FORMS
The NCFOP State Lodge, through the NCFOP Legal Aid Committee, processes all legal aid request after the affected member has completed the required forms needed to review the request. These forms are available below.
In the event of a need for legal aid for anything other than a CRITICAL INCIDENT, the member must complete the “NCFOP APPLICATION FOR LEGAL AID FORM” and sign and date the “NCFOP LEGAL AID AGREEMENT FORM.” The forms must be signed off by the Local Lodge Secretary and submitted to the NCFOP State Lodge. The member will be notified by the Legal Aid Committee of the approval or denial of the requested legal aid.
In the event of a “Critical Incident,” the member should contact their local lodge officer upon the critical incident occurring, who will immediately contact legal counsel for that member with NO WAIT. The required forms must be completed as soon as possible in the next few days after the critical incident.
The National FOP Legal Defense Plan for Criminal and Civil On-Line Filling Process
The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Legal Defense Plan is designed to provide payment of legal defense costs for covered duty-related civil or criminal lawsuits, including grand jury proceedings.
How do I file a claim?
All potential claims must be reported to Sedgwick Claims Management services. Please submit your claim using the Claim Reporting Form. Sedgwick will review the claim, make a coverage determination, and communicate with you and your chosen attorney.
Do I get to choose my own attorney?
Yes. If you choose a Plan Attorney, there is no deductible and no limit on attorney fees. If you choose a Non-Plan Attorney, there is a $250 deductible and a limit on attorney fees. A Non-Plan Attorney can become a Plan Attorney by simply enrolling and meeting the Plan’s requirements at the time he or she begins to represent you. Please contact Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc. for an Attorney Enrollment Packet.
For filing a National Legal Defense Plan claim:
Click on Legal Defense on the menu bar at the top of the page.
A new page will appear. Click on Plan Attorney & Claims in the menu bar (the 4th item on the bar from the left).
A dropdown box will appear with three choices:
If you are submitting a claim, click on the third item Claim Reporting Form and follow the instructions to complete the form.
WHO IS COVERED?
All active FOP members who, at the time of the incident which necessitates legal defense, are active law enforcement officers in good standing with the NC FOP and their local lodge.
DOES THE FOP HAVE SUBROGATION RIGHTS?
Yes. The FOP is subrogated, up to the amount given towards legal defense, to any amounts received by the member as an award in the case. EXAMPLE: Member shoots Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith sues member. As part of the defense, member counter-claims for attorney fees and wins. FOP is repaid by the member up to the amount of FOP contribution from the attorney fees awarded by the Court to member.
MAY I CHOOSE MY ATTORNEY?
Yes. The State Lodge does not choose your attorney. However, the State Lodge through the Legal Aid Committee may recommend a particular attorney.
DOES THE FOP PAY ME OR MY ATTORNEY?
The NC FOP pays the attorney, upon the attorney’s submittal of a bill and the approval of the Legal Aid Committee.
By the provision of a legal defense fund, the State Lodge in no way admits to the liability of the officer-member, nor does the State Lodge admit any liability of the FOP in conjunction with the officer-member.