Florida Senate - 2013 SB 40 By Senator Braynon 36-00041-13 201340__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Javier Soria by Palm Beach 3 County; providing for an appropriation to compensate 4 Javier Soria for injuries sustained as a result of 5 negligence by an employee of Palm Beach County; 6 providing a limitation on the payment of fees and 7 costs; providing an effective date. 8 9 WHEREAS, on April 17, 2007, 36-year-old Javier Soria was 10 lawfully traveling on his motorcycle northbound in the center 11 lane on SR 807 in West Palm Beach in the 220 block of South 12 Congress Avenue. At the same time, Juan Sepeda Casas, an 13 employee of Palm Beach County, was driving a Palm Beach County 14 dump truck with a utility trailer in tow, and 15 WHEREAS, as Mr. Casas exited the Palm Beach County 16 maintenance complex, he failed to stop at a stop sign, pulling 17 out into the path of Mr. Soria, causing a violent collision 18 between the two vehicles. The Palm Beach County truck continued 19 forward, dragging Javier Soria and the motorcycle under the dump 20 truck for approximately 12 feet, and 21 WHEREAS, Mr. Casas was charged in the accident by the 22 investigating law enforcement agency, the Delray Beach Police 23 Department, and 24 WHEREAS, as a result of the collision, Javier Soria 25 sustained severe head trauma, including a subarachnoid 26 hemorrhage, as well as a right elbow fracture, deep lacerations 27 requiring wound debridement, multiple abrasions to his face, 28 hands, legs, and arms, upper back pain, low back disc 29 herniation, left hip pain, right wrist pain, right shoulder 30 pain, and a right knee linear tear that required bracing, 31 physical therapy, and surgery, and 32 WHEREAS, Mr. Soria has undergone numerous surgical 33 procedures, including irrigation debridement with placement of a 34 temporary external fixator across the elbow joint, subsequent 35 removal of the external fixator, and open reduction internal 36 ulnar fixation, and 37 WHEREAS, Mr. Soria needs additional surgery to his right 38 elbow, including elbow fusion or total elbow replacement, and 39 arthroscopic surgery to his right knee, and is a candidate for 40 total knee replacement in the future. He also faces surgery to 41 his right wrist and shoulder, and 42 WHEREAS, Javier Soria suffers from multiple neurological 43 injuries that cause chronic headaches, low back pain, vision 44 problems, sleep disturbance, depression, memory loss, anxiety, 45 dizziness, tiredness, buzzing in the ears, numbness, tingling, 46 and knee pain, which limits his routine daily activities, and 47 WHEREAS, according to American Medical Association 48 guidelines, Mr. Soria’s treating neurologist, Dr. Waden Emery, 49 has assigned him a 34 percent impairment rating with 5 percent 50 for headaches, 14 percent for lumbar radiculopathy, 5 percent 51 for insomnia, and 10 percent for anxiety, and 52 WHEREAS, Mr. Soria’s treating orthopedist, Dr. Fernando 53 Moya, has assigned him a 53 percent orthopedic disability 54 impairment rating, which includes 36 percent for injuries to the 55 right elbow, 6 percent for injuries to the right knee, 6 percent 56 for injuries to the lumbar spine, and 5 percent for injuries to 57 the right wrist, and 58 WHEREAS, Javier Soria’s medical expenses totaled 59 approximately $200,254, experts in life care planning and 60 economics have determined that his future medical expenses are 61 approximately $640,000, and past and future lost earnings total 62 approximately $478,000, with total economic damages exceeding 63 $1.3 million, and 64 WHEREAS, Javier Soria’s injuries resulted in permanent 65 cognitive impairment, with the neuropsychological assessment of 66 Dr. Robert Brick concluding that Mr. Soria suffers from post 67 traumatic stress disorder, memory loss, poor management and 68 organizational skills, mood swings, daily headaches, constant 69 ringing in his ears, insomnia, panic attacks, and amnesia that 70 require cognitive therapy, and 71 WHEREAS, Javier Soria continues to suffer from pain and 72 instability in his head, neck, back, body, and limbs. In 73 addition, he continues to suffer from severe depression brought 74 about by his pain, suffering, disability, and limitations, all 75 of which are a direct result of the accident, and 76 WHEREAS, before the accident, Javier Soria was in excellent 77 physical condition and had dreams of one day opening his own 78 martial arts studio and becoming a certified martial arts 79 instructor, and 80 WHEREAS, Mr. Soria’s three children have a corresponding 81 right of action and claim given that he is now permanently 82 disabled with physical limitations and injuries and cognitive 83 restrictions and depression that limit his ability to provide 84 the companionship and support that he was once capable of 85 providing his family, and 86 WHEREAS, a settlement was reached between Javier Soria and 87 Palm Beach County in the amount of $300,000, and 88 WHEREAS, Palm Beach County has agreed to and pledged its 89 support for a claim bill in the amount of $100,000, NOW, 90 THEREFORE, 91 92 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 93 94 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 95 found and declared to be true. 96 Section 2. Palm Beach County is authorized and directed to 97 appropriate from funds of the county not otherwise appropriated 98 and to draw a warrant in the sum of $100,000, payable to Javier 99 Soria as compensation for injuries and damages sustained. 100 Section 3. The amount paid by Palm Beach County pursuant to 101 s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this 102 act are intended to provide the sole compensation for all 103 present and future claims against Palm Beach County arising out 104 of the factual situation described in this act which resulted in 105 the injuries to Javier Soria. The total amount paid for attorney 106 fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating 107 to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the total amount 108 awarded under this act. 109 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.