Florida Senate - 2016 PROPOSED COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE Bill No. CS for SB 58 Ì896478dÎ896478 576-04187-16 Proposed Committee Substitute by the Committee on Appropriations (Appropriations Subcommittee on Education) 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Q.B. by the Palm Beach County 3 School Board; providing for an appropriation and an 4 annuity to compensate Q.B. for injuries sustained as a 5 result of the negligence of employees of the Palm 6 Beach County School District; providing a limitation 7 on the payment of fees and costs; providing that the 8 appropriation settles all present and future claims 9 related to the negligent act; providing an effective 10 date. 11 12 WHEREAS, in January 2007, Q.B. was a 3-year-old exceptional 13 student education (ESE) student at Glade View Elementary School 14 in the Palm Beach County School District, and 15 WHEREAS, at that time, Q.B.’s speech and language 16 capabilities were developmentally delayed, and Q.B. had 17 virtually no capacity for speech, and 18 WHEREAS, on January 16, 2007, a school bus owned by the 19 Palm Beach County School District was being driven by a bus 20 driver employed by the district with a bus aide, also employed 21 by the district, riding as a passenger, to transport Q.B. to her 22 home from Glade View Elementary School, and 23 WHEREAS, at the same time, a 15-year-old male high school 24 student who had emotional and behavioral disabilities and who 25 was considered severely emotionally disturbed by the Palm Beach 26 County School District was also a passenger on the school bus, 27 and 28 WHEREAS, the 15-year-old male high school student left his 29 assigned bus seat, approached Q.B., and proceeded to sexually 30 assault Q.B. for approximately 15 minutes before the sexual 31 assault was discovered and stopped by the bus aide, and 32 WHEREAS, neither the bus driver nor the bus aide made any 33 effort to require the 15-year-old male high school student to 34 return to his assigned seat in the wake of the sexual assault, 35 but allowed him to remain sitting next to Q.B. for the remainder 36 of the bus ride, and 37 WHEREAS, the duties of the bus driver and the bus aide 38 included supervising the students on the bus, ensuring that all 39 students were in compliance with bus safety rules, and ensuring 40 the safety of all students on the bus, and 41 WHEREAS, the bus driver and the bus aide failed to properly 42 supervise the 15-year-old male high school student, failed to 43 properly supervise Q.B., and failed to ensure the safety of 44 Q.B., and, as a direct result of the breach of such duties, the 45 15-year-old male high school student was able to sexually 46 assault Q.B., and 47 WHEREAS, the sexual assault was captured on video by a 48 camera installed on the school bus, and the sexual assault 49 resulted in physical, emotional, and psychological trauma to 50 Q.B. and further diminished the quality of her life, and 51 WHEREAS, the Palm Beach County School Board is vicariously 52 liable for the negligence of the bus driver and the bus aide 53 under the doctrine of respondeat superior, s. 768.28(9)(a), 54 Florida Statutes, and 55 WHEREAS, on January 6, 2010, the parents of Q.B. filed a 56 negligence action against the Palm Beach County School Board in 57 Palm Beach County Circuit Court, styled T.B. and S.W., as 58 Parents and Natural Guardians of Q.B., a minor, Plaintiff v. The 59 School Board of Palm Beach County, Defendant, Case No. 60 502010CA000194MBAA, to recover damages for the injuries 61 sustained by Q.B. due to the sexual assault, and 62 WHEREAS, 6 years after the sexual assault and 2 weeks 63 before the commencement of trial, the Palm Beach County School 64 Board admitted liability for negligence, and the case proceeded 65 to trial only on the issue of damages, and 66 WHEREAS, on February 6, 2013, the jury returned a verdict 67 of $1,777,950 to compensate Q.B. for her injuries and provide 68 for her future care and treatment, and 69 WHEREAS, the Palm Beach County School Board has paid 70 $100,000 of the judgment pursuant to the statutory limits of 71 liability under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and 72 WHEREAS, the parties agreed to and approved a settlement on 73 December 16, 2015, which, among other things, requires the Palm 74 Beach County School Board to provide employment coaching and 75 education services to Q.B., and 76 WHEREAS, the settlement agreement also requires the Palm 77 Beach County School Board to compensate Q.B. in the amount of 78 $600,000 and to purchase an annuity for Q.B.’s benefit, NOW, 79 THEREFORE, 80 81 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 82 83 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 84 found and declared to be true. 85 Section 2. The Palm Beach County School Board is authorized 86 and directed to: 87 (1) Appropriate from funds of the school board not 88 otherwise appropriated and to draw a warrant in the sum of 89 $600,000, payable in two annual installments of $300,000, which, 90 after payment of fees, costs, and expenses as provided in 91 section 3, shall be placed in a special needs trust for the 92 exclusive use and benefit of Q.B. to compensate her for injuries 93 and damages she sustained as a result of the negligence of 94 employees of the Palm Beach County School District; and 95 (2) Purchase an annuity for Q.B.’s benefit. The annuity 96 shall provide annual disbursements to Q.B. beginning on June 23, 97 2024. Each annual payment shall be at least $14,850. The annuity 98 shall guarantee such annual payments for a minimum of 40 years, 99 for a total guaranteed benefit of $594,000. 100 Section 3. The total amount paid for attorney fees, 101 lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating to 102 this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under 103 this act. Attorney or lobbyist fees may not be assessed against 104 the value of the annuity. 105 Section 4. The compensation awarded under this act is 106 intended to provide the sole compensation for all present and 107 future claims arising out of the factual situation described in 108 this act which resulted in the injuries to Q.B. 109 Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.