Florida Senate - 2017 (NP) SB 314 By Senator Farmer 34-00587-17 2017314__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Jerry Cunningham by Broward 3 County; providing for an appropriation to compensate 4 him for injuries sustained as a result of the 5 negligence of Broward County; providing that the 6 appropriation settles all present and future claims 7 related to the negligent act; providing a limitation 8 on the payment of compensation, fees, and costs; 9 providing an effective date. 10 11 WHEREAS, on May 10, 2013, Jerry Cunningham and his mother 12 walked from their home to a bus stop for Broward County Transit 13 on Sample Road in Pompano Beach, where Jerry was to board the 14 bus to take him to school, and 15 WHEREAS, Jerry Cunningham presented himself at the 16 threshold of the bus and was attempting to board the bus with 17 its door still open when the bus driver proceeded to close the 18 door on Jerry’s arm, and 19 WHEREAS, the bus driver began to leave the bus stop even 20 though passengers allegedly alerted the driver to Jerry 21 Cunningham’s presence and even though two other passengers who 22 had just boarded had not yet crossed the standee line to find a 23 seat, which was in direct violation of state requirements and a 24 policy issued in a Broward County Transit memorandum in March 25 2013, and 26 WHEREAS, as the bus continued to pull away, Jerry 27 Cunningham attempted to run alongside the bus with his arm 28 caught in the doors until he eventually fell to the pavement, 29 unable to keep up with the bus’s speed, and was subsequently 30 struck by the bus, and 31 WHEREAS, after the accident, Jerry Cunningham was 32 immediately transported to Broward Health North and was 33 subsequently airlifted to the pediatric intensive care unit at 34 Broward Health Medical Center, and 35 WHEREAS, on June 13, 2013, Jerry Cunningham was transferred 36 to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s family-centered pediatric 37 rehabilitation program in order to receive intensive 38 occupational, physical, speech, and neuropsychological therapy, 39 and 40 WHEREAS, as a result of the accident, Jerry Cunningham 41 suffered traumatic brain injury, multiple skull fractures, 42 multiple facial fractures, multiple rib fractures, a right 43 clavicle fracture, a right scapular fracture, a right pulmonary 44 contusion, and a left medial malleolus fracture and was placed 45 in a medically induced coma for approximately 1 month, and 46 WHEREAS, Jerry Cunningham was unable to return to school 47 for approximately 18 months and continues to be impacted by the 48 accident through his diagnoses of neurocognitive disorder, 49 adjustment disorder with depression, central auditory processing 50 disorder, neuropsychological impairment in processing speed and 51 memory, motor dexterity impairment, and various physical 52 limitations, and 53 WHEREAS, the bus driver owed a duty of care to Jerry 54 Cunningham, and Broward County is vicariously liable for the 55 negligence of the bus driver, who was acting within the normal 56 scope of his employment, and 57 WHEREAS, Jerry Cunningham and his parents, Lillian and 58 Gerrard Cunningham, have agreed to a settlement with Broward 59 County in the sum of $850,000, and Broward County has agreed to 60 pay $300,000 of the settlement pursuant to the statutory limits 61 of liability set forth in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, leaving a 62 remaining balance of $550,000, NOW, THEREFORE, 63 64 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 65 66 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 67 found and declared to be true. 68 Section 2. Broward County is authorized and directed to 69 appropriate from funds not otherwise encumbered and to draw a 70 warrant in the sum of $550,000, plus interest accruing at the 71 rate of 7 percent per annum until paid, payable to Jerry 72 Cunningham as compensation for injuries and damages sustained. 73 Section 3. The amount paid by Broward County pursuant to s. 74 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this act 75 are intended to provide the sole compensation for all present 76 and future claims arising out of the factual situation described 77 in this act which resulted in injuries and damages to Jerry 78 Cunningham. The total amount paid for attorney fees, lobbying 79 fees, costs, and similar expenses relating to this claim may not 80 exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under this act. 81 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.