Florida Senate - 2019 (NP) SB 30 By Senator Flores 39-00115A-19 201930__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Carlos Ruben Suarez Diaz and 3 his wife, Melissa Gonzalez Santiago, by the City of 4 Homestead; providing an appropriation to compensate 5 them for injuries and damages sustained as a result of 6 the negligence of an employee of the City of 7 Homestead; providing a limitation on the payment of 8 attorney fees; providing an effective date. 9 10 WHEREAS, on October 15, 2013, 41-year-old Carlos Ruben 11 Suarez Diaz was crossing the intersection of NE 33rd Terrace and 12 NE 5th Street in the Crystal Lakes gated community of Homestead 13 on his bicycle in an unmarked crosswalk, and 14 WHEREAS, a City of Homestead garbage truck operator failed 15 to yield at the intersection before making a left-hand turn, and 16 the truck ran over and stopped on top of Carlos Ruben Suarez 17 Diaz, and 18 WHEREAS, Carlos Ruben Suarez Diaz sustained a massive 19 degloving injury, a ligamentous injury, and tissue loss to his 20 left lower extremity, and 21 WHEREAS, Carlos Ruben Suarez Diaz underwent multiple 22 grafting and reconstructive surgeries to his left leg and foot, 23 and 24 WHEREAS, Carlos Ruben Suarez Diaz has permanent 25 psychological and physical injuries, including posttraumatic 26 stress disorder (PTSD), pain, and loss of function, and 27 WHEREAS, Carlos Ruben Suarez Diaz will require 28 physiological and psychiatric care and medication for PTSD for 29 the rest of his life, and 30 WHEREAS, Carlos Ruben Suarez Diaz’ wife, Melissa Gonzalez 31 Santiago, has suffered loss of consortium damages as a result of 32 her husband’s injuries and disability, and 33 WHEREAS, Carlos Ruben Suarez Diaz and Melissa Gonzalez 34 Santiago sued the City of Homestead and received a judgment in 35 the amount of $1,629,091.20, bearing interest at the current 36 legal interest rate of 5.72 percent per year and thereafter at 37 the established legal rate from April 27, 2018, as well as a 38 final cost judgment in the amount of $110,000, bearing interest 39 at the current legal interest rate of 5.72 percent per year from 40 May 9, 2018, and thereafter at the established legal rate, and 41 WHEREAS, the City of Homestead is privately insured by 42 Travelers Insurance Company in the amount of $5 million for the 43 type of damages suffered by Carlos Ruben Suarez Diaz and Melissa 44 Gonzalez Santiago, and 45 WHEREAS, the City of Homestead and its insurer are not 46 appealing the judgments, and 47 WHEREAS, the City of Homestead has paid Carlos Ruben Suarez 48 Diaz and Melissa Gonzalez Santiago $300,000 in partial 49 satisfaction of the judgments pursuant to the limits of 50 liability set forth in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the 51 remainder is conditioned upon the passage of a claim bill in the 52 amount of $1,439,091.20 plus interest at the legal rate, NOW, 53 THEREFORE, 54 55 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 56 57 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 58 found and declared to be true. 59 Section 2. The City of Homestead is authorized and directed 60 to appropriate from funds not otherwise encumbered, inclusive of 61 the insurance coverage provided to the City of Homestead by 62 Travelers Insurance Company pursuant to policy number H-810 63 12R03571-IND-13, and to draw a warrant in the sum of 64 $1,439,091.20 plus interest at the legal rate payable to Carlos 65 Ruben Suarez Diaz and his wife, Melissa Gonzalez Santiago, as 66 compensation for injuries and damages sustained. 67 Section 3. The amount paid by the City of Homestead 68 pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded 69 under this act are intended to provide the sole compensation for 70 all present and future claims arising out of the factual 71 situation described in this act which resulted in injuries and 72 damages to Carlos Ruben Suarez Diaz and Melissa Gonzalez 73 Santiago. The total amount paid for attorney fees relating to 74 this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under 75 this act. 76 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.