Florida Senate - 2017                                      SB 12
       By Senator Steube
       40-00031-17                                             201712__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Amie Draiemann O’Brien,
    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, a clogged drain had caused a large pool of
   18  standing water to collect at the base of the bridge, 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 pool of water and
   24  hydroplaned, and
   25         WHEREAS, Mr. 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 which were parked in the
   28  striped safety zone alongside the expressway, and
   29         WHEREAS, Mr. Stephenson attempted to make a hard right turn
   30  onto the Atlantic Avenue exit to avoid the three vehicles, but,
   31  as he attempted to exit, the gasoline tanker jackknifed, struck
   32  the guardrail, overturned, and exploded, and
   33         WHEREAS, Mr. Stephenson was subsequently pronounced dead at
   34  the scene, and
   35         WHEREAS, Mr. Stephenson’s widow, Amie Draiemann O’Brien,
   36  brought suit against the Department of Transportation in the
   37  Circuit Court of the Fourth Judicial Circuit in and for Duval
   38  County, Case No. 01-03428 CA, and on March 22, 2005, the jury
   39  returned a verdict that assigned 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 Mr. Stephenson’s
   44  estate is $1.3 million; the total amount sustained by Amie
   45  Draiemann O’Brien, the widow of Mr. Stephenson, is $763,000; the
   46  total amount sustained by Hailey Morgan Stephenson, a surviving
   47  minor child of Mr. Stephenson, is $1 million; and the total
   48  amount sustained by Christian Darby Stephenson II, a surviving
   49  minor child of Mr. Stephenson, is $526,000, and
   50         WHEREAS, 36 percent of the aggregate sum of the damages
   51  awarded to Mr. Stephenson’s estate and the named survivors under
   52  the final judgment is $1,292,040, and
   53         WHEREAS, the Department of Transportation has paid a total
   54  of $175,100 under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, after the payment
   55  of $24,900 to third parties who brought claims against the
   56  Department of Transportation for damages claimed as a result of
   57  the same occurrence, the remainder subject to being awarded
   58  under this act is $1,116,940, NOW, THEREFORE,
   60  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   62         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   63  found and declared to be true.
   64         Section 2. There is appropriated from the General Revenue
   65  Fund to the Department of Transportation the sum of $1,116,940
   66  for the relief of Amie Draiemann O’Brien, as the personal
   67  representative of the Estate of Christian Darby Stephenson, for
   68  the wrongful death of Christian Darby Stephenson.
   69         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
   70  warrants in the sum of $1,116,940 upon the funds of the
   71  Department of Transportation in the State Treasury not otherwise
   72  appropriated, payable as follows:
   73         (1)The sum of $404,575.65, to the Estate of Christian
   74  Darby Stephenson;
   75         (2)The sum of $237,454.78, to compensate Amie Draiemann
   76  O’Brien;
   77         (3)The sum of $311,212.04, to be paid into a trust to
   78  compensate Hailey Morgan Stephenson; and
   79         (4)The sum of $163,697.53, to be paid into a trust to
   80  compensate Christian Darby Stephenson II.
   81         Section 4. The amount paid by the Department of
   82  Transportation under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount
   83  awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
   84  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
   85  the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
   86  the death of Mr. Stephenson. The total amount paid for attorney
   87  fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating
   88  to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded
   89  under this act.
   90         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.