Code of the District of Columbia

§ 2–402. Settlement of claims and suits against District.

(a) The Mayor of the District of Columbia is empowered to settle, in his discretion, claims and suits, either at law or in equity, against the District of Columbia whenever the cause of action:

(1) Arises out of the negligence or wrongful act, either of commission or omission, of any officer or employee of the District of Columbia for whose negligence or acts the District of Columbia, if a private individual, would be liable prima facie to respond in damages, irrespective of whether such negligence occurred or such acts were done in the performance of a municipal or a governmental function of said District; provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall be construed as depriving the District of Columbia of any defense it may have to any suit, either at law or in equity, which may be instituted against it or to give any person, corporation, partnership, or association any right to institute any suit against the District of Columbia which did not exist prior to June 5, 1930; or

(2) Arises out of the existence of facts and circumstances which place the claim or suit within the doctrines and principles of law decided by the courts in the District of Columbia or by the Supreme Court of the United States to be controlling in the District of Columbia.

(3)(A) In any case, claim, or suit, either at law or in equity, which the Mayor of the District of Columbia is empowered to settle, the payment for such settlement or judgment shall come from the current fiscal year operating budget of the agency or office named in the suit; provided that:

(i) The settlement or judgment is less than $10,000; and

(ii) The case was originally filed not more than 2 years before the settlement or judgment.

(B) The Mayor may waive this requirement on a case-by-case basis for good cause shown.

(b)(1)(A) The District shall not enter into or execute any settlement agreement related to a contract disapproved by the Council pursuant to § 1-204.51 while the details of the disapproved contract are the subject of an active investigation by the Council, the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor, the Office of the Inspector General, or the United States Attorneys’ Office and, unless otherwise authorized under paragraph (2) of this subsection, until 90 days following the completion of the investigation.

(B) The Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the District of Columbia Housing Authority, or any other District agency or authority shall not:

(i) Approve payment or disburse payment related to a contract disapproved by the Council pursuant to § 1-204.51 while the details of the disapproved contract are the subject of an active investigation by the Council, the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor, the Office of the Inspector General, or the United States Attorneys’ Office and, unless otherwise authorized under paragraph (2) of this subsection, until 90 days following the completion of the investigation; or

(ii) Approve payment or disburse payment related to a settlement agreement executed in violation of subparagraph (A) of this subsection.

(2) The Council, by act approved by 2/3rds of its members, may authorize payment otherwise prohibited by paragraph (1) of this subsection within the 90 days following the completion of an investigation.


(Feb. 11, 1929, 45 Stat. 1160, ch. 173, § 1; June 5, 1930, 46 Stat. 500, ch. 400; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 575, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 157(e)(1); Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 4302, 47 DCR 6308; Oct. 26, 2001, D.C. Law 14-42, § 27, 48 DCR 7612; Mar. 12, 2011, D.C. Law 18-319, § 2, 57 DCR 12433.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1202.

1973 Ed., § 1-902.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-350.06, § 2-403, § 2-404, and § 2-405.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-172 added par. (3).

D.C. Law 14-42 substituted “settlement or judgment” for “settlement”.

D.C. Law 18-319 designated the existing text as subsec. (a); and added subsec. (b).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 4302 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-376, July 24, 2000, 47 DCR 6574).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 4302 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 27 of Technical Amendments Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-108, August 3, 2001, 48 DCR 7622).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Settlement Payment Integrity Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-14, February 11, 2011, 58 DCR 1438).

Editor's Notes

Civil suits permitted: Act of December 29, 1979, 93 Stat. 1284, Pub. L. 96-170, provided that civil suits under § 1979 of the Revised Statutes ( 42 U.S.C. § 1983) are permitted against any person acting under color of any law or custom of the District of Columbia who subjects any person within the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia to the deprivation of any right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution and laws occurring after the date of the enactment of Pub. L. 96-170.

Section 137 of Pub. L. 107-96, Dec. 21, 2001, 115 Stat. 923, provided: “RISK MANAGEMENT FOR SETTLEMENTS AND JUDGMENTS. In addition to any other authority to pay claims and judgments, any department, agency, or instrumentality of the District government may pay the settlement or judgment of a claim or lawsuit in an amount less than $10,000, in accordance with the Risk Management for Settlements and Judgments Amendment Act of 2000, effective October 19, 2000 (D.C. Law 13-172; D.C. Official Code, Sec. 2-402).”

Section 3 of D.C. Law 18-319 provided: “Sec. 3. Applicability. This act shall apply as of June 30, 2010.”

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of Authority Pursuant to D.C. Official Code §§ 2-402 (2001) & 1-204.22 (6) (2001), to Delegate Authority to Make All Determinations Regarding Offers of Settlement of Any and All Claims Against the District of Columbia, and The Mayor of the District of Columbia in His Official Capacity in District Council 20, et al. v. District of Columbia, et al., (DDC) (EGS), see Mayor’s Order 2001-134, September 13, 2001 ( 48 DCR 8998).

Re-Delegation of Authority to Settle or Compromise Claim (Office of Corporation Counsel File #77411), see Mayor’s Order 2002-174, November 1, 2002 ( 49 DCR 9882).

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.