Florida Senate - 2019 SB 1682 By Senator Book 32-01407D-19 20191682__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High 3 School Victim Compensation Fund Program; creating s. 4 1010.881, F.S.; creating the Marjory Stoneman Douglas 5 High School Victim Compensation Fund Program within 6 the Department of Education; defining terms; providing 7 legislative intent; requiring the department to accept 8 and process applications for certain payments; 9 providing requirements for such applications; 10 requiring the department to verify specified 11 information before approval of an application; 12 prohibiting the department from paying an applicant 13 until specified requirements are satisfied; providing 14 for disbursal of funds; requiring the Attorney General 15 to develop a formula for distribution of funds to 16 specified individuals; requiring the department to use 17 the formula; authorizing the department to adopt 18 rules; providing construction; providing a contingent 19 effective date. 20 21 WHEREAS, on February 14, 2018, a mass shooting occurred in 22 the 1200 Building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in 23 which 17 people were killed and 17 others were injured, and 24 WHEREAS, the victims of the shooting who were killed or 25 injured, or who were present on campus during the shooting may 26 assert claims against the state and its political subdivisions 27 for injuries arising out of the shooting, and 28 WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that the victims or the 29 survivors of those killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High 30 School shooting will be required to litigate any such claims and 31 obtain a judgment or settlement before any entitlement to 32 recovery, and 33 WHEREAS, such claims would be subject to the limitations of 34 s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, including the limitation 35 restricting liability for payment of claims or judgments, when 36 totaled together, to $300,000 per occurrence or incidence, and 37 requiring that claims or judgments above that amount be approved 38 by the Legislature, and 39 WHEREAS, the Legislature is vested with the sole 40 constitutional authority to approve claims that exceed the 41 statutory waiver limits of sovereign immunity in s. 768.28, 42 Florida Statutes, and the sole constitutional authority to 43 approve payment of claims, and 44 WHEREAS, it is the intent of the Legislature to provide an 45 alternative to litigation and the claim bill process which will 46 provide reasonable compensation to the survivors of the victims 47 killed in, and to those injured in or suffering from emotional 48 distress as a result of, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High 49 School shooting in exchange for a voluntary release of any and 50 all claims arising out of the February 14, 2018, mass shooting 51 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, NOW, THEREFORE, 52 53 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 54 55 Section 1. Section 1010.881, Florida Statutes, is created 56 to read: 57 1010.881 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Victim 58 Compensation Fund Program.— 59 (1) There is created within the department the Marjory 60 Stoneman Douglas High School Victim Compensation Fund Program 61 for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High 62 School on February 14, 2018. 63 (2) As used in this section, the term: 64 (a) “Claim” means all the causes of action that have been 65 or may be asserted by a victim and any claim of loss of 66 consortium or any other claim for damages by a survivor or 67 family member of a victim arising out of the victim’s death or 68 injury. 69 (b) “Department” means the Florida Department of Education. 70 (c) “Event” means the mass shooting that occurred at 71 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. 72 (d) “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School” means the high 73 school located at 5901 Pine Island Road in the City of Parkland 74 located in Broward County. 75 (e) “Survivor” means a victim’s spouse, children, parents, 76 and, when partly or wholly dependent on the victim for support 77 or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and 78 sisters. 79 (f) “Victim” means any individual who was shot and wounded 80 during the event. 81 (3) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide a 82 streamlined process for the presentation of and payment of each 83 claim when the claimant agrees to forgo litigation and the claim 84 bill process and to release the state and its political 85 subdivisions from any and all claims arising out of the event. 86 (4) The department shall accept and process applications 87 for payment of claims made pursuant to this section. 88 (5) Applications must be on forms approved by the 89 department and must include all of the following: 90 (a) The name of the victim. 91 (b) Whether the victim was: 92 1. Shot, injured, and received outpatient treatment; or 93 2. Shot, injured, and hospitalized. 94 (c) The names of all survivors who have or may have claims 95 for loss of consortium or any other claim for damages arising 96 out of the victim’s injury. 97 (d) A statement agreeing to forgo litigation or dismiss 98 pending litigation, to agree not to seek a claim bill from the 99 Legislature, and to execute the release described in subsection 100 (7) in exchange for payment of the claim as set forth in 101 subsection (8). 102 (e) The signature of the victim, if the victim is 18 years 103 of age or older, or the signature of the victim’s parent or 104 guardian, if the victim is younger than 18 years of age. 105 (f) The signature of all survivors or family members 106 described in paragraph (c), or for such persons who are younger 107 than 18 years of age, the signature of their parents or 108 guardians. 109 (6) Before approving any application for payment, the 110 department shall verify all of the following: 111 (a) The identity of the victim. 112 (b) The victim’s entitlement to recovery under subsection 113 (8). 114 (c) The identity of each of the survivors or family members 115 described in paragraph (5)(c) and that all persons have been 116 disclosed who have or may have claims for damages arising out of 117 the victim’s injury. 118 (7) The department may not pay an applicant until the 119 victim, or the person who may assert a claim on behalf of a 120 victim, and all persons who may assert a claim arising out of 121 the injury to a victim under this section, have signed an 122 unqualified release of all claims for the damages, costs, and 123 expenses, including attorney fees of any type, or relief of any 124 other kind, resulting from the event. The release must be on a 125 form approved by the department. 126 (8) Funds from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Victim Trust 127 Fund pursuant to s. 1010.88 shall be disbursed in accordance 128 with this section. The Attorney General shall develop a formula 129 to be used by the department in the distribution of funds to 130 victims and family members of the victims who are entitled to 131 recovery. 132 (9) The department may adopt rules to administer this 133 section. 134 (10) Payments made under this section are not subject to s. 135 744.387. 136 (11) This section provides the exclusive means of 137 compensation for victims and their families who opt to receive 138 payments as authorized pursuant to this section. No compensation 139 under this section is authorized for victims and their families 140 who refuse to accept or fail to comply with the terms of this 141 section. 142 (12) Nothing in this section shall be deemed an admission 143 of fact or an admission of liability on the part of the state or 144 its political subdivisions. 145 (13) Notwithstanding the relief provided above the limits 146 of sovereign immunity provided in s. 768.28, the state and its 147 political subdivisions may not be deemed to have waived any 148 defense of sovereign immunity or to have increased the limits of 149 its liability as a result of passage of this act. 150 Section 2. This act shall take effect on the same date that 151 SB ___ or similar legislation takes effect, if such legislation 152 is adopted in the same legislative session or an extension 153 thereof and becomes a law.