Florida Senate - 2018 (NP) CS for SB 52 By the Committee on Judiciary; and Senator Mayfield 590-01999-18 201852c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Cathleen Smiley by Brevard 3 County; providing for an appropriation to compensate 4 Cathleen Smiley for personal injuries and damages 5 sustained in an automobile accident caused by a 6 Brevard County employee; providing for payment by 7 Brevard County; providing a limitation on the payment 8 of compensation and attorney fees; providing an 9 effective date. 10 11 WHEREAS, on June 18, 1998, Cathleen Smiley was the driver 12 of her vehicle when it was struck in the rear section by a van 13 driven by Howard Evarts which had been struck in the rear 14 section by a passenger bus owned by the Brevard County Board of 15 County Commissioners, and 16 WHEREAS, the Brevard County employee operating the bus was 17 traveling at approximately 45 miles per hour when the bus hit 18 the vehicle in which Mr. Evarts was traveling, causing Mr. 19 Evarts’ vehicle to hit Ms. Smiley’s vehicle, and 20 WHEREAS, the vehicles which Ms. Smiley and Mr. Evarts were 21 operating were appropriately stopped in their lane of travel 22 waiting to make a left turn, and 23 WHEREAS, at the time of the accident, Ms. Smiley was 24 without personal resources for medical insurance, other than 25 nominal personal injury protection, to adequately care for the 26 injuries she suffered as a result of the accident, and 27 WHEREAS, Ms. Smiley was knocked unconscious and suffered 28 permanent injuries to the neck and left shoulder, and 29 WHEREAS, Christopher Prusinski, D.O., a neurologist in 30 Brevard County, has opined that Ms. Smiley has reached maximum 31 medical improvement and has an 8 percent whole body impairment 32 due to the accident, and 33 WHEREAS, Dr. Prusinski also has opined that Ms. Smiley will 34 require extensive future chiropractic care and treatment, and 35 WHEREAS, since the accident Ms. Smiley has required 36 continuing care and treatment, and it is anticipated that she 37 will require ongoing care in the future, including chiropractic 38 treatment and periodic medical intervention and diagnostic 39 testing, and 40 WHEREAS, on January 25, 2016, a consent judgment was 41 entered after Ms. Smiley and Brevard County agreed to a 42 stipulated judgment in the amount of $25,000 in case number 05 43 2000-CA-004291-XXXX-XX, and 44 WHEREAS, Ms. Smiley is one of five persons who filed 45 lawsuits related to the accident, and 46 WHEREAS, at the time Ms. Smiley filed her lawsuit, on or 47 about February 29, 2000, Brevard County had already paid 48 property damage, medical, and injury claims totaling $101,410. 49 Additionally, the county was evaluating two additional related 50 personal injury lawsuits, and 51 WHEREAS, after these property damage, medical, and injury 52 claims were settled, only $98,590 remained to resolve the other 53 claims filed in connection with the accident, and 54 WHEREAS, Howard and Sharon Evarts and Alan Hammer filed 55 their lawsuits against Brevard County on June 24, 1999, and 56 WHEREAS, consent judgments were entered by the Circuit 57 Court for the 18th Judicial Circuit in Brevard County on 58 November 30, 2000, pursuant to an agreement entered into by 59 plaintiffs Evarts and Hammer and Brevard County for stipulated 60 judgments in case numbers 05-1999-CA-025509-XXXX-XX (Evarts) and 61 05-1999-CA025510-XXXX-XX (Hammer), each in the amount $125,000, 62 and 63 WHEREAS, Mr. Evarts and Mr. Hammer each received $49,295 64 out of the remaining balance of $98,590 of the county’s $200,000 65 sovereign immunity limitation and, pursuant to their settlement 66 agreements with Brevard County, received the balance of their 67 judgments through the claim bill process as articulated in 68 chapter 2003-346, Laws of Florida, and chapter 2003-345, Laws of 69 Florida, respectively, and 70 WHEREAS, Brevard County and Ms. Smiley agreed that she 71 would pursue payment of the stipulated judgment due her in the 72 amount of $25,000 from the county through the claim bill 73 process, and 74 WHEREAS, Brevard County has agreed that it would not oppose 75 a claim bill being rendered against the county in this matter 76 and would support same, NOW, THEREFORE, 77 78 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 79 80 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 81 found and declared to be true. 82 Section 2. Brevard County is authorized and directed to 83 appropriate from funds of the county not otherwise appropriated 84 and to draw a warrant in the sum of $25,000 payable to Cathleen 85 Smiley, now known as Cathleen Waller, to compensate her for 86 personal injuries and damages sustained. 87 Section 3. The amount paid by Brevard County pursuant to s. 88 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this act 89 are intended to provide the sole compensation for all present 90 and future claims arising out of the factual situation described 91 in this act which resulted in injuries and damages to Cathleen 92 Smiley. The total amount paid for attorney fees relating to this 93 claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under this 94 act. 95 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.