Florida Senate - 2015                              (NP)    SB 44
       By Senator Grimsley
       21-00013-15                                             201544__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of the Estate of Lazaro
    3         Rodriguez and his legal survivors by the City of
    4         Hialeah; providing an appropriation to compensate the
    5         Estate and Lazaro Rodriguez’s legal survivors for
    6         injuries sustained as a result of the negligence of
    7         the City of Hialeah; providing a limitation on the
    8         payment of fees and costs; providing that the
    9         appropriation settles all present and future claims
   10         related to the wrongful death of Lazaro Rodriguez;
   11         providing an effective date.
   13         WHEREAS, on July 30, 2000, at approximately 10:14 p.m., 29
   14  year-old Lazaro Rodriguez was lawfully and properly operating
   15  his 1997 Ford Explorer in the westbound lanes of East 32nd
   16  Street in the City of Hialeah, and
   17         WHEREAS, at the same time, Officer Jorge Rodriguez, a City
   18  of Hialeah road patrolman, was on duty and overheard a radio
   19  summons of another unit and, despite the fact that he was not
   20  dispatched to the call, decided to respond, and
   21         WHEREAS, in responding to the call, Officer Rodriguez was
   22  traveling northbound on Palm Avenue in the City of Hialeah while
   23  Lazaro Rodriguez was traveling westbound on East 32nd Street,
   24  and
   25         WHEREAS, Officer Rodriguez ran the red light at the
   26  intersection of Palm Avenue and East 32nd Street, crashing his
   27  police cruiser into the driver side of the vehicle driven by
   28  Lazaro Rodriguez, and
   29         WHEREAS, the severe impact of the collision forced Lazaro
   30  Rodriguez’s vehicle into a concrete utility pole at the
   31  northwest corner of the intersection and then into another
   32  vehicle, and
   33         WHEREAS, the force of the crash was so great that it caused
   34  massive and fatal blunt trauma injuries to Lazaro Rodriguez, and
   35  he was pronounced dead at the scene, and
   36         WHEREAS, at the conclusion of the traffic homicide
   37  investigation concerning the death of Lazaro Rodriguez, the City
   38  of Hialeah Police Department found that Officer Rodriguez had
   39  violated Florida traffic statutes by unlawfully running the red
   40  light at the intersection of Palm Avenue and East 32nd Street
   41  and operating his motor vehicle in a careless manner, and that
   42  these violations were the legal cause of the traffic collision
   43  and the death of Lazaro Rodriguez, and
   44         WHEREAS, Lazaro Rodriguez left a widow, Beatriz Luquez, and
   45  children, Lazaro, Jr., and Katherine, all of whom were dependent
   46  upon him financially and emotionally and loved him dearly, and
   47         WHEREAS, in 2001, Ms. Luquez, individually and as the
   48  personal representative of the Estate of Lazaro Rodriguez, filed
   49  a wrongful death lawsuit in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in
   50  and for Miami-Dade County, styled Beatriz Luquez, individually
   51  and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Lazaro Rodriguez
   52  v. City of Hialeah, Case No. 01-3691 CA 08, and
   53         WHEREAS, the parties to the lawsuit entered into a formal
   54  settlement agreement following mediation and a unanimous vote by
   55  the Hialeah City Council, and
   56         WHEREAS, the terms of the settlement agreement required the
   57  claimants to dismiss their case with prejudice and provide a
   58  full release of liability to the city and its employees, which
   59  the claimants have done, in exchange for payments by the City of
   60  Hialeah totaling $685,000, plus $25,000 for costs, to be paid
   61  over 5 years if the Legislature approves the unpaid amounts, and
   62         WHEREAS, pursuant to the settlement agreement, the City of
   63  Hialeah has paid $200,000 to the claimants, plus $25,000 for
   64  costs, leaving an unpaid balance of $485,000, and
   65         WHEREAS, as part of the terms of the settlement agreement
   66  and general release, the City of Hialeah has agreed to support
   67  the passage of a claim bill and to pay the remaining balance of
   68  $485,000 in installments, with the last payment to be made on
   69  July 1, 2016, NOW, THEREFORE,
   71  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   73         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   74  found and declared to be true.
   75         Section 2. The City of Hialeah is authorized and directed
   76  to appropriate from funds of the city not otherwise appropriated
   77  and to draw warrants totaling the amount of $485,000, payable to
   78  Beatriz Luquez, individually and as personal representative of
   79  the Estate of Lazaro Rodriguez, and to Lazaro Rodriguez, Jr.,
   80  and Katherine Rodriguez, as compensation for injuries and
   81  damages sustained by the claimants as a result of the death of
   82  Lazaro Rodriguez. The amount of $385,000 shall be paid on July
   83  1, 2015, and $100,000 shall be paid on July 1, 2016.
   84         Section 3. The total amount paid for attorney fees,
   85  lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating to
   86  this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the total amount awarded
   87  under this act.
   88         Section 4. The amounts awarded pursuant to the waiver of
   89  sovereign immunity under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and under
   90  this act are intended to provide the sole compensation for all
   91  present and future claims arising out of the factual situation
   92  described in the preamble to this act which resulted in the
   93  death of Lazaro Rodriguez.
   94         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.