Florida Senate - 2018                              (NP)    SB 40
       By Senator Thurston
       33-00252-18                                             201840__
    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 a 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 a limitation on the
   11         payment of attorney fees; providing an effective date.
   13         WHEREAS, on June 21, 1999, an employee of the Department of
   14  Transportation was driving a department vehicle north on
   15  Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County, and
   16         WHEREAS, on that same day, Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa, having
   17  completed an interview at the University of South Florida
   18  Medical School, was traveling south on Interstate 75, and
   19         WHEREAS, according to departmental policy, employees of the
   20  department are required to ensure that all items used by the
   21  department and stored on a department vehicle are appropriately
   22  secured, and
   23         WHEREAS, one such item used by the department was a 12-foot
   24  extension ladder stored on the roof of the truck driven by the
   25  department employee and the employee failed to ensure that the
   26  ladder was secured to the vehicle before leaving the
   27  department’s maintenance yard, and
   28         WHEREAS, as the employee traveled north on Interstate 75 in
   29  the department vehicle, the extension ladder flew off the roof
   30  into the northbound traffic traveling behind the department
   31  vehicle, and
   32         WHEREAS, the driver of the vehicle traveling behind the
   33  department vehicle swerved to avoid hitting the ladder and, as a
   34  result of the swerving movement, lost control of her vehicle,
   35  veered to the left, crossed the Interstate 75 median, and struck
   36  Dr. Aversa’s southbound vehicle, killing Dr. Aversa instantly,
   37  and
   38         WHEREAS, as a result of these events, the Estate of Dr.
   39  Sherrill Lynn Aversa brought suit against the department for its
   40  negligence in causing the death of Dr. Aversa, and
   41         WHEREAS, after 3 years of litigation, the department
   42  admitted liability for the accident and agreed to settle the
   43  case, and
   44         WHEREAS, the parties agreed to a consent judgment in the
   45  amount of $800,000 solely against the department, with no
   46  finding of comparative negligence against any other party, and
   47         WHEREAS, the department has paid $150,000 to the Estate of
   48  Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa consistent with the statutory limits of
   49  liability set forth in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, NOW,
   52  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   54         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   55  found and declared to be true.
   56         Section 2. The Executive Office of the Governor is directed
   57  to establish spending authority from unappropriated trust fund
   58  balances of the Department of Transportation in the amount of
   59  $650,000 to a new category titled “Relief: Estate of Dr.
   60  Sherrill Lynn Aversa” as compensation to the Estate of Dr.
   61  Sherrill Lynn Aversa for the death of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa,
   62  which amount includes attorney fees and costs.
   63         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
   64  a warrant, pursuant to the stipulated settlement agreement
   65  executed by the Department of Transportation and the personal
   66  representative of the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa, in the
   67  amount of $650,000 upon funds of the Department of
   68  Transportation not otherwise encumbered, and the Chief Financial
   69  Officer is directed to pay the same sum out of such funds in the
   70  State Treasury.
   71         Section 4. The amount paid by the Department of
   72  Transportation pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the
   73  amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
   74  compensation for this excess judgment claim and for all other
   75  present and future claims arising out of the factual situation
   76  described in this act which resulted in the death of Dr.
   77  Sherrill Lynn Aversa. The total amount paid for attorney fees
   78  relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount
   79  awarded under this act.
   80         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.