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. 12 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, 67 THEREFORE, 68 69 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 70 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.