Florida Senate - 2016 (NP) SB 36 By Senator Soto 14-00127-16 201636__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Donald Brown by the District 3 School Board of Sumter County; providing an 4 appropriation to compensate Donald Brown for injuries 5 sustained as a result of the negligence of an employee 6 of the District School Board of Sumter County; 7 providing a limitation on the payment of fees and 8 costs; providing that certain payments and the 9 appropriation satisfy all present and future claims 10 related to the negligent act; providing an effective 11 date. 12 13 WHEREAS, on October 18, 2004, at about 6:45 a.m., Donald 14 Brown was riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle eastbound on 15 County Road 470 and was approaching the intersection with County 16 Road 475 in Bushnell, Florida, and 17 WHEREAS, at about the same time, Patsy C. Foxworth, an 18 employee of the District School Board of Sumter County, in the 19 regular course of her employment duties, was driving a school 20 bus owned by the school board on County Road 475 in Bushnell, 21 Florida, and 22 WHEREAS, at that time and place, Patsy C. Foxworth 23 negligently operated the school bus by pulling in front of 24 Donald Brown in an attempt to make a left turn, which caused a 25 collision with his motorcycle, and 26 WHEREAS, upon impact with the school bus, Donald Brown 27 sustained a life-changing injury when his right lower leg was 28 severed instantly below the knee as his leg and foot were pinned 29 between the bumper of the school bus and motorcycle, and 30 WHEREAS, Donald Brown was airlifted to Orlando Regional 31 Medical Center in Orlando, Florida, where he was immediately 32 taken to surgery to complete a below-the-knee amputation of his 33 right leg, and where he underwent additional surgeries on 34 October 25 and 28, 2004, to care for the wound and to graft skin 35 from his left thigh to cover an area of about 45 by 30 36 centimeters in size on his right leg, and 37 WHEREAS, Donald Brown was transferred to UF Health Shands 38 Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, for rehabilitation from 39 November 2, 2004, to November 12, 2004, and 40 WHEREAS, as a result of the injuries incurred on October 41 18, 2004, Donald Brown required the use of a prosthetic leg 42 which caused ulcers that required additional surgery on January 43 17, 2006, and 44 WHEREAS, prior to the accident, Donald Brown lived a full 45 life, had a zest and vigor for life, and was very active in 46 recreational, social, and sporting activities, and 47 WHEREAS, the effects of the injuries have been devastating, 48 restricting Donald Brown’s ability to work and enjoy life, and 49 WHEREAS, as a result of the accident, Donald Brown incurred 50 medical expenses in the amount of $421,693.60 and was medically 51 retired from his employment with the Federal Bureau of Prisons 52 in Coleman, Florida, where he was earning $42,000 a year, and 53 WHEREAS, the District School Board of Sumter County is 54 vicariously liable for the negligence of Patsy C. Foxworth under 55 the doctrine of respondeat superior, s. 768.28(9)(a), Florida 56 Statutes, and 57 WHEREAS, on May 5, 2005, Donald Brown filed suit against 58 the District School Board of Sumter County in the Fifth Judicial 59 Circuit Court in and for Sumter County, Case No. 2005CA000584A0, 60 seeking to recover damages for bodily injury, past and future 61 pain and suffering of both a physical and mental nature, 62 disability, physical impairment, disfigurement, inconvenience, 63 loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, expense of 64 hospitalization, medical and nursing care and treatment, loss of 65 earnings, loss of ability to earn money, and loss of ability to 66 lead and enjoy a normal life, and 67 WHEREAS, after a lengthy jury trial, the jury found the 68 school board liable for Donald Brown’s injuries and awarded him 69 damages in the amount of $2,941,240.60, and 70 WHEREAS, on March 2, 2009, the Honorable Michelle T. 71 Morley, Circuit Court Judge from the Fifth Judicial Circuit in 72 and for Sumter County, entered a final judgment reducing the 73 award of damages to $2,651,375.83, plus taxable costs of 74 $31,674.12 and interest to accrue on the judgment amount at a 75 rate of 11 percent per annum from the date the judgment was 76 rendered until payment, and 77 WHEREAS, the District School Board of Sumter County filed a 78 notice of appeal of the judgment on March 30, 2009, and the 79 judgment was affirmed by the Fifth District Court of Appeal on 80 February 18, 2011, and 81 WHEREAS, Donald Brown is receiving ongoing medical care for 82 his injuries, including two surgeries after the trial, the first 83 surgery occurring on September 16 and 17, 2009, at Orlando 84 Regional Medical Center due to a bone infection on his right 85 leg, and the second surgery occurring on August 27, 2010, at the 86 Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, due to complications 87 with his right leg resulting in an above-the-knee amputation, 88 and 89 WHEREAS, the District School Board of Sumter County has 90 paid $100,000 of the judgment pursuant to the statutory limits 91 of liability set forth in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and 92 WHEREAS, the remainder of the judgment is sought through 93 the submission of a claim bill to the Legislature, NOW, 94 THEREFORE, 95 96 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 97 98 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 99 found and declared to be true. 100 Section 2. The District School Board of Sumter County is 101 authorized and directed to appropriate from funds of the school 102 board not otherwise appropriated and from available insurance 103 proceeds and to draw a warrant payable to Donald Brown in the 104 amount of $900,000. In addition, the District School Board of 105 Sumter County is further authorized and directed to appropriate 106 from funds of the school board not otherwise appropriated and 107 draw warrants payable to Donald Brown in the amount of $50,000 108 by July 1 of each year beginning in 2016 and continuing through 109 2025, inclusive, for a total of $500,000. The total amount 110 awarded under this act is $1.4 million. 111 Section 3. The total amount paid for attorney fees, 112 lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating to 113 this claim may not exceed 15 percent of the first $1 million 114 awarded under this act, and 10 percent of the remainder awarded 115 under this act, for a total of $190,000. However, taxable costs, 116 which may not include attorney fees and lobbying fees, related 117 to the underlying civil action may be collected in addition to 118 the $190,000. 119 Section 4. The amount paid by the District School Board of 120 Sumter County pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the 121 amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole 122 compensation for all present and future claims arising out of 123 the factual situation described in this act which resulted in 124 the injuries to Donald Brown. 125 Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.