Florida Senate - 2014                                      SB 34
       By Senator Flores
       37-00128A-14                                            201434__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Amie Draiemann Stephenson,
    3         individually and as Personal Representative of the
    4         Estate of Christian Darby Stephenson, deceased, and
    5         for the relief of Hailey Morgan Stephenson and
    6         Christian Darby Stephenson, II, as surviving minor
    7         children of the decedent; providing an appropriation
    8         to compensate them for the wrongful death of Christian
    9         Darby Stephenson, which was due in part to the
   10         negligence of the Department of Transportation;
   11         providing a limitation on the payment of fees and
   12         costs; providing an effective date.
   14         WHEREAS, on August 12, 2000, 29-year-old Christian Darby
   15  Stephenson was driving a gasoline tanker eastbound on the Hart
   16  Bridge Expressway in Duval County, and
   17         WHEREAS, at the base of the bridge was a large pool of
   18  standing water which was caused by a clogged drain, and
   19         WHEREAS, the Department of Transportation was responsible
   20  for the maintenance of the drains at that location on the Hart
   21  Bridge Expressway, and
   22         WHEREAS, as Mr. Stephenson drove over the bridge, a Jeep
   23  that was traveling toward the tanker hit the puddle and
   24  hydroplaned, and
   25         WHEREAS, Christian Stephenson took evasive action to avoid
   26  hitting the Jeep, as well as two other vehicles that had been
   27  involved in previous accidents and were parked in the striped
   28  safety zone alongside the expressway, and
   29         WHEREAS, Mr. Stephenson attempted to make a hard right turn
   30  onto the Atlantic Avenue exit so as to avoid those three
   31  vehicles, but, as he tried to take the exit, the gasoline tanker
   32  jackknifed, struck the guardrail, overturned, and exploded, and
   33         WHEREAS, Christian Darby Stephenson was subsequently
   34  pronounced dead at the scene, and
   35         WHEREAS, Mr. Stephenson’s widow, Amie Draiemann Stephenson,
   36  brought suit against the Department of Transportation in the
   37  Circuit Court of the Fourth Judicial Circuit, in and for Duval
   38  County, Florida, Case No. 01-03428 CA, and, on March 22, 2005,
   39  the jury returned a verdict that charged the Department of
   40  Transportation with 36 percent of the negligence that was a
   41  legal cause of Mr. Stephenson’s death, and
   42         WHEREAS, the jury verdict states the jury’s determination
   43  that the total amount of damages sustained by Christian Darby
   44  Stephenson’s estate is $1.3 million; the total amount sustained
   45  by Amie Draiemann Stephenson, the widow of Mr. Stephenson, is
   46  $763,000; the total amount sustained by Hailey Morgan
   47  Stephenson, a surviving minor child of Mr. Stephenson, is $1
   48  million; and the total amount sustained by Christian Darby
   49  Stephenson, II, a surviving minor child of Mr. Stephenson, is
   50  $526,000, and
   51         WHEREAS, 36 percent of the aggregate sum of the damages
   52  awarded to Mr. Stephenson’s estate and the named survivors under
   53  the final judgment is $1,292,040, plus taxable costs, and
   54         WHEREAS, after the Department of Transportation has paid
   55  $200,000, as allowed under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, the
   56  remainder subject to being awarded under this act is $1,092,040,
   57  plus taxable costs, NOW, THEREFORE,
   59  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   61         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   62  found and declared to be true.
   63         Section 2. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
   64  a warrant in the sum of $1,092,040, plus taxable costs, upon the
   65  funds of the Department of Transportation in the State Treasury
   66  not otherwise appropriated, payable to Amie Draiemann
   67  Stephenson, as Personal Representative of the Estate of
   68  Christian Darby Stephenson, to compensate Mrs. Stephenson and
   69  the surviving minor children of Mr. and Mrs. Stephenson, Hailey
   70  Morgan Stephenson and Christian Darby Stephenson, II, for the
   71  wrongful death of Christian Darby Stephenson.
   72         Section 3. The amount paid by the Department of
   73  Transportation pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the
   74  amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
   75  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
   76  the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
   77  the death of Christian Darby Stephenson. The total amount paid
   78  for attorney fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other similar
   79  expenses relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the
   80  amount awarded under this act.
   81         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.