Florida Senate - 2016                              (NP)    SB 38
       By Senator Soto
       14-00126-16                                             201638__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of J.D.S.; providing an
    3         appropriation from the General Revenue Fund to
    4         compensate J.D.S. for injuries and damages sustained
    5         as a result of negligence by the Agency for Persons
    6         with Disabilities, as successor agency of the
    7         Department of Children and Family Services; providing
    8         that certain payments and the appropriation satisfy
    9         all present and future claims related to the negligent
   10         act; providing a limitation on the payment of fees and
   11         costs; providing an effective date.
   13         WHEREAS, in December 2002, J.D.S., a 22-year-old
   14  developmentally disabled woman with autism, cerebral palsy, and
   15  mental retardation, was living at the Strong Group Home, which
   16  was owned and operated by Hester Strong and licensed and
   17  supervised by the Department of Children and Family Services,
   18  and
   19         WHEREAS, in December 2002, J.D.S. was raped and impregnated
   20  by Philip Strong, husband of the owner and operator of the
   21  Strong Group Home, and
   22         WHEREAS, on April 24, 2003, J.D.S.’s pregnancy was
   23  discovered by her physician, and on August 30, 2003, J.D.S. gave
   24  birth to a baby girl, known as G.V.S., who was immediately taken
   25  from J.D.S. and placed for adoption, and
   26         WHEREAS, as a result of her rape and impregnation, J.D.S.
   27  sustained mental anguish and a further diminution in the quality
   28  of her life, and
   29         WHEREAS, J.D.S. filed a claim in Orange County Circuit
   30  Court alleging that the department negligently supervised the
   31  Strong Group Home and that the Strong Group Home was negligently
   32  operated, thereby allowing Philip Strong to rape J.D.S., which
   33  resulted in her impregnation, and
   34         WHEREAS, J.D.S.’s claims against the department, the Strong
   35  Group Home, and other parties were based upon negligence,
   36  violations of chapter 393, Florida Statutes, and violations of
   37  the Bill of Rights of Persons with Developmental Disabilities,
   38  as set forth in s. 393.13, Florida Statutes, and
   39         WHEREAS, as a client of the department, as defined in s.
   40  393.063, Florida Statutes, J.D.S. had a right under s. 393.13,
   41  Florida Statutes, to “dignity, privacy, and humane care,
   42  including the right to be free from sexual abuse, neglect, and
   43  exploitation,” and
   44         WHEREAS, J.D.S. alleged that the department had a
   45  nondelegable duty to protect J.D.S. from foreseeable harm,
   46  including sexual abuse, and
   47         WHEREAS, J.D.S. alleged that the department was liable for
   48  direct negligence relating to its oversight of the Strong Group
   49  Home and that it was vicariously liable for the negligence of
   50  the Strong Group Home under the doctrine of respondeat superior
   51  established under s. 768.28(9)(a), Florida Statutes, and
   52         WHEREAS, before the jury trial commenced on February 6,
   53  2012, the parties agreed to settle the case titled Patti R.
   54  Jarrell, as plenary guardian of J.D.S., an incapacitated person,
   55  Plaintiff, v. State of Florida, Agency for Persons With
   56  Disabilities, as successor agency of the Department of Children
   57  and Family Services, for the sum of $1.15 million, and
   58         WHEREAS, under the terms of the settlement agreement
   59  consented to by the parties, the Agency for Persons with
   60  Disabilities agreed to pay $200,000 to J.D.S., with the
   61  remaining $950,000 to be paid pursuant to a stipulated claim
   62  bill, and
   63         WHEREAS, the agency has agreed to request an appropriation
   64  from the Legislature in the amount of $950,000, and
   65         WHEREAS, the $950,000 stipulated settlement is sought
   66  through the submission of a claim bill to the Legislature, NOW,
   69  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   71         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   72  found and declared to be true.
   73         Section 2. The sum of $950,000 is appropriated from the
   74  General Revenue Fund to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities
   75  for the relief of J.D.S. as compensation for the injuries and
   76  damages she sustained.
   77         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer shall draw a warrant
   78  upon funds of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities in the
   79  sum of $950,000 and shall pay such amount out of funds in the
   80  State Treasury to the AGED Pooled Special Needs Trust, which
   81  shall be managed and administered by AGED, Inc., a nonprofit
   82  trust company, on behalf of J.D.S.
   83         Section 4. The amount paid by the Agency for Persons with
   84  Disabilities pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the
   85  amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
   86  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
   87  the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
   88  the injuries and damages to J.D.S. The total amount paid for
   89  attorney fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses
   90  relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount
   91  awarded under this act.
   92         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.