Florida Senate - 2013                                      SB 26
       By Senator Altman
       16-00016-13                                             201326__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of the Estate of Dr. Sherrill
    3         Lynn Aversa; providing an appropriation to compensate
    4         the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa for Dr.
    5         Aversa’s death as result of the negligence of the
    6         Department of Transportation; requiring the Executive
    7         Office of the Governor to establish spending authority
    8         from unappropriated trust fund balances of the
    9         department for compensation to the Estate of Dr.
   10         Sherrill Lynn Aversa; providing for attorney fees and
   11         costs; providing a limitation on the payment of fees
   12         and costs; providing an effective date.
   14         WHEREAS, on June 21, 1999, an employee of the Department of
   15  Transportation was driving a departmental truck northbound on
   16  Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County, Florida, and
   17         WHEREAS, on that same day, Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa, having
   18  completed an interview at the University of South Florida
   19  Medical School, was traveling southbound on Interstate 75, and
   20         WHEREAS, according to departmental policy, employees of the
   21  department are required to ensure that all items used by the
   22  department and stored on a truck are appropriately secured to
   23  the truck, and
   24         WHEREAS, one such item used by the department and stored on
   25  the truck was a 12-foot extension ladder stored on the top of
   26  the truck, and
   27         WHEREAS, the department’s employee failed to ensure that
   28  the ladder was secured to the truck before leaving the
   29  department’s maintenance yard, and
   30         WHEREAS, thereafter, while the employee traveled northbound
   31  on Interstate 75, the extension ladder flew from the roof of the
   32  truck into the northbound traffic following the department’s
   33  truck, and
   34         WHEREAS, the driver of the vehicle traveling behind the
   35  department’s truck swerved to avoid hitting the extension
   36  ladder, which was ejected directly at the driver in her lane of
   37  traffic, and
   38         WHEREAS, as a result of the swerving movements, the driver
   39  of the vehicle behind the department’s truck lost control of her
   40  vehicle, veered to the left, crossed the Interstate 75 median,
   41  and struck Dr. Aversa’s vehicle, killing Dr. Aversa instantly,
   42  and
   43         WHEREAS, as a result of these events, the Estate of Dr.
   44  Aversa brought suit against the Department of Transportation for
   45  the negligence causing the death of Dr. Aversa, and
   46         WHEREAS, after 3 years of litigation, the department
   47  admitted liability for the accident and agreed to settle the
   48  case, and
   49         WHEREAS, the parties agreed to a consent judgment solely
   50  against the department, with no finding of comparative
   51  negligence against any other party, in the amount of $797,500,
   52  and
   53         WHEREAS, the Department of Transportation has paid $100,000
   54  to the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa under the statutory
   55  limits of liability set forth in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes,
   58  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   60         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   61  found and declared to be true.
   62         Section 2. The Executive Office of the Governor is directed
   63  to establish spending authority from unappropriated trust fund
   64  balances of the Department of Transportation in the amount of
   65  $697,500 to a new category titled “Relief: Estate of Dr.
   66  Sherrill Lynn Aversa” as compensation to the Estate of Dr.
   67  Sherrill Lynn Aversa for the death of Dr. Aversa, which amount
   68  includes attorney fees and costs.
   69         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
   70  a warrant in favor of the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa in
   71  the sum of $697,500 upon funds of the Department of
   72  Transportation not otherwise encumbered, and the Chief Financial
   73  Officer is directed to pay the same out of such funds in the
   74  State Treasury.
   75         Section 4. The amount paid by the Department of
   76  Transportation pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the
   77  amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
   78  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
   79  the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
   80  the death of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa. The total amount paid for
   81  attorney fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses
   82  relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount
   83  awarded under this act.
   84         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.