Florida Senate - 2016                              (NP)    SB 22
       By Senator Montford
       3-00120A-16                                             201622__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Angela Sanford by Leon
    3         County; providing for an appropriation to compensate
    4         her for injuries and damages sustained as a result of
    5         the negligence of an employee of Leon County;
    6         providing that certain payments and the appropriation
    7         satisfy all present and future claims related to the
    8         negligent act; providing a limitation on the payment
    9         of compensation, fees, and costs; providing an
   10         effective date.
   12         WHEREAS, on September 5, 2013, Angela Sanford was a belted
   13  front-seat passenger in a car that was traveling on a green
   14  light through the intersection of West Tharpe Street and North
   15  Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard in Tallahassee, Florida, and
   16         WHEREAS, at the same time, a Leon County ambulance operated
   17  by Leon County employee Benjamin Hunter entered the intersection
   18  despite a red light displayed on the traffic signal, which was
   19  clearly visible the entire time Mr. Hunter approached the
   20  intersection, and
   21         WHEREAS, the ambulance broadsided the passenger’s side of
   22  the car in which Angela Sanford was traveling in and struck the
   23  passenger side door at a speed in excess of 40 miles per hour,
   24  and
   25         WHEREAS, Mr. Hunter failed to operate his ambulance in a
   26  reasonably safe manner and conducted himself in direct violation
   27  of the Leon County Emergency Medical Services Standard Operating
   28  Guideline, which specifically requires all emergency vehicles to
   29  come to a full and complete stop at a red light, and
   30         WHEREAS, although Mr. Hunter later claimed that the light
   31  was yellow, the video from the ambulance’s onboard camera
   32  clearly showed that the light was red for the entire 8 seconds
   33  of the video, and
   34         WHEREAS, the investigation conducted by the Leon County
   35  Sheriff’s Office concluded that Mr. Hunter was the sole person
   36  at fault in the accident, and
   37         WHEREAS, Mr. Hunter also admitted, and the evidence showed,
   38  that fences, trees, and buildings at the corner of the
   39  intersection blocked the other driver’s view of the ambulance as
   40  it approached the intersection, and
   41         WHEREAS, as a result of the crash, Angela Sanford sustained
   42  life-threatening injuries that left her in a coma, including a
   43  traumatic brain bleed that resulted in permanent cognitive and
   44  depressive disorders, a lacerated liver, a ruptured bladder, a
   45  cranial nerve injury resulting in permanent double vision, a
   46  fractured pelvis requiring hardware insertion, a fractured
   47  clavicle requiring hardware insertion, bilateral hip socket
   48  fractures requiring hardware insertion, a fractured knee, a
   49  fractured shoulder blade, eleven fractured ribs, permanent
   50  peroneal nerve palsy known as foot drop, and numerous other
   51  injuries that have now left her totally disabled and unable to
   52  ever return to her career as an elementary school teacher, and
   53         WHEREAS, Angela Sanford’s medical expenses at the time of
   54  judgment exceeded $744,000, and
   55         WHEREAS, on April 13, 2015, a final judgment in the amount
   56  of $1.15 million was entered by the trial court for Angela
   57  Sanford against Leon County, and
   58         WHEREAS, Leon County carried liability insurance with
   59  OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd., a Bermuda-domiciled company,
   60  which will pay 100 percent of any appropriation up to the policy
   61  limit of $3 million, and
   62         WHEREAS, Leon County has already paid out $300,000 to other
   63  persons injured in this accident in satisfaction of sovereign
   64  immunity limits set forth in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, NOW,
   67  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   69         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   70  found and declared to be true.
   71         Section 2. Leon County is authorized and directed to
   72  appropriate from funds of the county not otherwise appropriated,
   73  or from the county’s liability insurance coverage, and to draw a
   74  warrant in the sum of $1.15 million, payable to Angela Sanford
   75  as compensation for injuries and damages sustained.
   76         Section 3. The amount paid by Leon County pursuant to s.
   77  768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this act
   78  are intended to provide the sole compensation for all present
   79  and future claims arising out of the factual situation described
   80  in this act which resulted in injuries and damages to Angela
   81  Sanford. The total amount paid for attorney fees, lobbying fees,
   82  costs, and similar expenses relating to this claim may not
   83  exceed 25 percent of the total amount awarded under this act.
   84         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.