Florida Senate - 2019                       (NP)    CS for SB 34
       By the Committee on Judiciary; and Senator Torres
       590-02873-19                                            201934c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Robert Alan Smith by Orange
    3         County; providing for an appropriation to compensate
    4         Mr. Smith for injuries and damages he sustained as a
    5         result of the negligence of an employee of Orange
    6         County; providing legislative intent regarding lien
    7         interests held by the state; providing a limitation on
    8         the payment of fees and costs; providing an effective
    9         date.
   11         WHEREAS, at 1:43 p.m. on September 7, 2006, Robert Alan
   12  Smith was driving his motorcycle north on DePauw Avenue, the
   13  quiet residential street he lived on in Orlando, within 300 feet
   14  of his home, within the 25-mile-per-hour posted speed limit, and
   15  with the motorcycle’s headlights on in clear, dry weather, and
   16         WHEREAS, as Mr. Smith approached the intersection of DePauw
   17  Avenue and Orlando Street, at which stop signs are posted for
   18  vehicles traveling on Orlando Street, Orange County employee
   19  Lynn Lawrence Godden, who was driving an Orange County work van
   20  west on Orlando Street, negligently pulled away from the stop
   21  sign, colliding with Mr. Smith, and
   22         WHEREAS, Mr. Smith said he saw the driver of the Orange
   23  County van visibly slow down as he approached the stop sign,
   24  having observed Mr. Smith approaching on his motorcycle, but
   25  that the driver drove through the stop sign and into Mr. Smith’s
   26  path and Mr. Smith was unable to avoid a collision, and
   27         WHEREAS, the front of the Orange County van struck Mr.
   28  Smith, causing severe and life-threatening injuries and
   29  necessitating surgical procedures, including a traumatic
   30  amputation of his right leg above his knee, and
   31         WHEREAS, Mr. Smith also suffered a badly fractured lower
   32  left leg with internal fixation, a broken pelvis and sacrum with
   33  internal fixation, and damage to the rectum and internal organs,
   34  which required a laparotomy, and
   35         WHEREAS, the Orange County employee testified that he
   36  observed Mr. Smith’s motorcycle as he approached the
   37  intersection, but he erroneously believed that it was heading
   38  away from him, although there was no evidence to support this
   39  claim, and that he was looking to his right, away from Mr.
   40  Smith, when he entered the intersection, and
   41         WHEREAS, the Orange County employee was issued a citation
   42  by the Orlando Police Department for failure to yield from a
   43  stop sign, and
   44         WHEREAS, after finding for Mr. Smith and against Orange
   45  County in a civil jury trial, the jury in the case determined
   46  that Mr. Smith’s future medical expenses totaled $2.376 million
   47  over 40 years and that his past medical expenses and lost wages
   48  totaled $688,807.37, and awarded him $1,749,978 in damages for
   49  past and future pain and suffering, for a total award of
   50  $4,814,785.37, and
   51         WHEREAS, after the total award was reduced by amounts for
   52  comparative negligence and Medicaid and Veterans Administration
   53  setoffs, a final judgment was entered against Orange County on
   54  November 27, 2012, in the amount of $2,913,536.09, and
   55         WHEREAS, Orange County has paid Mr. Smith $100,000 pursuant
   56  to the statutory limits of liability set forth in s. 768.28,
   57  Florida Statutes, which were in effect at the time Mr. Smith’s
   58  claim arose, leaving a remaining unpaid balance of
   59  $2,813,536.09, NOW, THEREFORE,
   61  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   63         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   64  found and declared to be true.
   65         Section 2. Orange County is authorized and directed to
   66  appropriate from funds not otherwise encumbered and to draw a
   67  warrant in the sum of $750,000 payable to Robert Alan Smith as
   68  compensation for injuries and damages he sustained as a result
   69  of the negligence of an employee of Orange County.
   70         Section 3. It is the intent of the Legislature that the
   71  lien interests relating to the claim of Robert Alan Smith for
   72  the treatment and care of Robert Alan Smith, including Medicaid
   73  liens, are hereby waived or extinguished.
   74         Section 4. The amount paid by Orange County pursuant to s.
   75  768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this act
   76  are intended to provide the sole compensation for all present
   77  and future claims arising out of the factual situation described
   78  in this act which resulted in injuries and damages to Robert
   79  Alan Smith. Of the amount awarded under this act, the total
   80  amount paid for attorney fees may not exceed $150,000, the total
   81  amount paid for lobbying fees may not exceed $37,500, and the
   82  total amount paid for costs and other similar expenses relating
   83  to this claim may not exceed $71,511.15.
   84         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.