Florida Senate - 2018 (NP) SB 48 By Senator Gibson 6-00257-18 201848__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Ashraf Kamel and Marguerite 3 Dimitri by the Palm Beach County School Board; 4 providing for an appropriation to compensate Ashraf 5 Kamel and Marguerite Dimitri for the wrongful death of 6 their minor child, Jean A. Pierre Kamel, as a result 7 of the negligence of the Palm Beach County School 8 Board; providing a limitation on the payment of 9 attorney fees; providing an effective date. 10 11 WHEREAS, Jean A. Pierre Kamel, age 13, was wrongfully 12 killed on January 27, 1997, when he was shot by 14-year-old 13 Tronneal Mangum in front of Conniston Middle School, a Palm 14 Beach County public school, and 15 WHEREAS, Jean A. Pierre Kamel’s father, Ashraf Kamel, 16 brought a wrongful-death action against the Palm Beach County 17 School Board seeking damages for Jean Kamel’s mother, Marguerite 18 Dimitri, and himself for their grief, anguish, and mental pain 19 and suffering due to the repeated bullying and tragic death of 20 their minor son, Jean Kamel, while he was in the care and 21 custody of the Palm Beach County School Board, and 22 WHEREAS, Jean Kamel was born with a birth defect that 23 required his right leg to be amputated, and 24 WHEREAS, Jean Kamel wore a prosthetic leg and suffered 25 various physical disabilities as a result, and 26 WHEREAS, Jean Kamel attended Conniston Middle School in 27 West Palm Beach in January of 1997, and 28 WHEREAS, Tronneal Mangum also attended Conniston Middle 29 School in January of 1997, and 30 WHEREAS, before the shooting occurred, Jean Kamel had told 31 school officials that Tronneal Mangum was bullying him, 32 including taunting him, kicking his prosthetic leg, and 33 threatening him, and 34 WHEREAS, various school officials had witnessed some of 35 these events, namely Tronneal Mangum’s kicking Jean Kamel in his 36 prosthetic leg, and 37 WHEREAS, Jean Kamel and Tronneal Mangum had one class 38 together, and Jean Kamel repeatedly asked school officials to be 39 moved to another class because he was afraid of Tronneal Mangum 40 and that Tronneal Mangum was constantly making fun of him in 41 front of other students, and 42 WHEREAS, days before the shooting, Jean Kamel reported that 43 his watch had been taken from him by Tronneal Mangum, and 44 WHEREAS, Jean Kamel and Tronneal Mangum were brought to a 45 guidance counselor and Jean Kamel told the counselor that 46 Tronneal Mangum had taken his watch from him. The counselor 47 instructed Tronneal Mangum to return the watch at the school 48 with no supervision and did not contact Tronneal Mangum’s 49 parents or guardian, and 50 WHEREAS, when Tronneal Mangum did not show up for school 51 the next day, Jean Kamel told a school official that “Tronneal 52 is out to get me,” and 53 WHEREAS, the school took no action under the circumstances, 54 including contacting Tronneal Mangum’s family or guardian, nor 55 did the school contact Jean Kamel’s parents and advise them of 56 the situation, and 57 WHEREAS, on the next school day, January 27, 1997, Tronneal 58 Mangum traveled to Conniston Middle School on the school bus 59 with a loaded firearm and entered school property carrying the 60 weapon, and 61 WHEREAS, the Palm Beach County School Board was on notice 62 that students had brought firearms to Conniston Middle School on 63 previous occasions, but the board did not enact any security 64 measures to prevent such acts, and 65 WHERAS, on January 27, 1997, the school failed to have 66 personnel assigned to posts to adequately supervise the safety 67 of the children as they entered the school, and 68 WEHREAS, on January 27, 1997, the school district police 69 officer whose post was on the sidewalk directly in front of the 70 school where the shooting occurred was not at his post that 71 morning, and 72 WHEREAS, because of the multiple acts of negligence, 73 carelessness, and a lack of concern for the risks of harm that 74 confronted Jean Kamel by the Conniston Middle School staff, on 75 January 27, 1997, Jean Kamel was brutally shot to death by 76 Tronneal Mangum in the front of the school, and 77 WHEREAS, on February 8, 2002, a Palm Beach County jury 78 found that the Palm Beach County School Board was negligent and 79 80 percent liable for the death of Jean Kamel, and 80 WHEREAS, the jury determined that the amount of damages 81 Ashraf Kamel and Marguerite Dimitri, the parents of Jean Kamel, 82 received was $2 million to compensate them for their grief, 83 anguish, and mental pain and suffering as a result of the 84 negligence of the school and the Palm Beach County School Board, 85 and 86 WHEREAS, on February 22, 2002, the Circuit Court for the 87 15th Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County reduced the 88 jury verdict to a final judgment of $1,602,400, based on the 89 offset for 20 percent comparative negligence, and 90 WHEREAS, on May 14, 2002, the circuit court entered a cost 91 judgment in favor of Ashraf Kamel in the amount of $13,490, and 92 WHEREAS, the Palm Beach County School Board appealed the 93 final judgment, and the Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected 94 the appeal in a per curiam affirmed opinion issued on February 95 12, 2003, and 96 WHEREAS, on February 27, 2003, the Palm Beach County School 97 Board filed a Motion for Rehearing and Certification of Issues 98 of Great Public Importance, which was denied by the Fourth 99 District Court of Appeal on March 20, 2003, and 100 WHEREAS, on April 17, 2003, the Palm Beach County School 101 Board tendered to Ashraf Kamel, as personal representative of 102 the Estate of Jean A. Pierre Kamel, a payment of $200,000 in 103 accordance with the statutory limits of liability set forth in 104 s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and 105 WHEREAS, Ashraf Kamel and Marguerite Dimitri and the Palm 106 Beach County School Board agreed to settle the parents’ claim 107 for an additional $360,000, and 108 WHEREAS, Ashraf Kamel, as personal representative of the 109 Estate of Jean A. Pierre Kamel, seeks satisfaction of the 110 $360,000 balance of the settlement agreement, NOW, THEREFORE, 111 112 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 113 114 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 115 found and declared to be true. 116 Section 2. The Palm Beach County School Board is authorized 117 and directed to appropriate from funds of the school board not 118 otherwise encumbered the total amount of $360,000, and to draw 119 warrants payable to Ashraf Kamel in the sum of $180,000 and to 120 Marguerite Dimitri in the sum of $180,000 to compensate them for 121 their injuries and damages sustained due to the death of their 122 son, Jean A. Pierre Kamel, as a result of the negligence of the 123 school board. 124 Section 3. The amount paid by the Palm Beach County School 125 Board pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amounts 126 awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole 127 compensation for all present and future claims arising out of 128 the factual situation described in this act which resulted in 129 the death of Jean A. Pierre Kamel. The total amount paid for 130 attorney fees relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent 131 of the amount awarded under this act. 132 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.