Florida Senate - 2015                              (NP)    SB 24
       By Senator Soto
       14-00024-15                                             201524__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of J.D.S.; providing an
    3         appropriation from the General Revenue Fund to
    4         compensate J.D.S. for injuries and damages sustained
    5         as a result of negligence by the Agency for Persons
    6         with Disabilities, as successor agency of the
    7         Department of Children and Family Services; providing
    8         a limitation on the payment of fees and costs;
    9         providing an effective date.
   11         WHEREAS, in December 2002, J.D.S., a 22-year-old
   12  developmentally disabled woman with autism, cerebral palsy, and
   13  mental retardation, was living at the Strong Group Home, which
   14  was owned and operated by Hester Strong and licensed and
   15  supervised by the Department of Children and Family Services,
   16  and
   17         WHEREAS, in December 2002, J.D.S. was raped and impregnated
   18  by Philip Strong, husband of the owner and operator of the
   19  Strong Group Home, and
   20         WHEREAS, on April 24, 2003, J.D.S.’s pregnancy was
   21  discovered by her physician, and on August 30, 2003, J.D.S. gave
   22  birth to a baby girl, known as G.V.S., who was immediately taken
   23  from J.D.S. and placed for adoption, and
   24         WHEREAS, as a result of her rape and impregnation, J.D.S.
   25  sustained mental anguish and a further diminution in the quality
   26  of her life, and
   27         WHEREAS, J.D.S. filed a claim in Orange County Circuit
   28  Court alleging that the department negligently supervised the
   29  Strong Group Home and that the Strong Group Home was negligently
   30  operated, thereby allowing Philip Strong to rape J.D.S., which
   31  resulted in her impregnation, and
   32         WHEREAS, J.D.S.’s claims against the department, the Strong
   33  Group Home, and other parties were based upon negligence,
   34  violations of chapter 393, Florida Statutes, and violations of
   35  the Bill of Rights of Persons with Developmental Disabilities,
   36  s. 393.13, Florida Statutes, and
   37         WHEREAS, as a client of the department, as defined in s.
   38  393.063, Florida Statutes, J.D.S. had a right under s. 393.13,
   39  Florida Statutes, to “dignity, privacy, and humane care,
   40  including the right to be free from sexual abuse, neglect, and
   41  exploitation,” and
   42         WHEREAS, J.D.S. alleged that the department had a
   43  nondelegable duty to protect J.D.S. from foreseeable harm,
   44  including sexual abuse, and
   45         WHEREAS, J.D.S. alleged that the department was liable for
   46  direct negligence relating to its oversight of the Strong Group
   47  Home and that it was vicariously liable for the negligence of
   48  the Strong Group Home under the doctrine of respondeat superior
   49  pursuant to s. 768.28(9)(a), Florida Statutes, and
   50         WHEREAS, before the jury trial commenced on February 6,
   51  2012, the parties agreed to settle the case titled Patti R.
   52  Jarrell, as plenary guardian of J.D.S., an incapacitated person,
   53  Plaintiff, v. State of Florida, Agency for Persons With
   54  Disabilities, as successor agency of the Department of Children
   55  and Family Services, for the sum of $1.15 million, and
   56         WHEREAS, under the terms of the settlement agreement
   57  consented to by the parties, the Agency for Persons with
   58  Disabilities agreed to pay $200,000 to J.D.S., with the
   59  remaining $950,000 to be paid pursuant to a stipulated claim
   60  bill, and
   61         WHEREAS, the agency has agreed to request an appropriation
   62  from the Legislature in the amount of $950,000 in its 2015-2016
   63  fiscal year budget, and
   64         WHEREAS, the $950,000 stipulated settlement is sought
   65  through the submission of a claim bill to the Legislature, NOW,
   68  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   70         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   71  found and declared to be true.
   72         Section 2. The sum of $950,000 is appropriated from the
   73  General Revenue Fund to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities
   74  for the relief of J.D.S. as compensation for the injuries and
   75  damages she sustained.
   76         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer shall draw a warrant
   77  upon funds of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities in the
   78  sum of $950,000 and shall pay such amount out of funds in the
   79  State Treasury to the AGED Pooled Special Needs Trust, which
   80  shall be managed and administered by AGED, Inc., a nonprofit
   81  trust company, on behalf of J.D.S.
   82         Section 4. The amount paid by the Agency for Persons with
   83  Disabilities pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the
   84  amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
   85  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
   86  the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
   87  the injuries and damages to J.D.S. The total amount paid for
   88  attorney fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses
   89  relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount
   90  awarded under this act.
   91         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.