Florida Senate - 2018 (NP) SB 54 By Senator Torres 15-00255-18 201854__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Robert Allan Smith by Orange 3 County; providing for an appropriation to compensate 4 Mr. Smith for injuries he sustained as a result of the 5 negligence of an employee of Orange County; providing 6 for repayment of Medicaid liens; providing a 7 limitation on the payment of attorney fees; providing 8 an effective date. 9 10 WHEREAS, at 1:43 p.m. on September 7, 2006, Robert Allan 11 Smith was driving his motorcycle north on DePauw Avenue, the 12 quiet residential street he lived on in Orlando, within 300 feet 13 of his home, within the 25-mile-per-hour posted speed limit, and 14 with the motorcycle’s headlights on in clear, dry weather, and 15 WHEREAS, as Mr. Smith approached the intersection of DePauw 16 Avenue and Orlando Street, at which stop signs are posted for 17 vehicles traveling on Orlando Street, Orange County employee 18 Lynn Lawrence Godden, who was driving an Orange County work van 19 west on Orlando Street, negligently pulled away from the stop 20 sign, colliding with Mr. Smith, and 21 WHEREAS, Mr. Smith said he saw the driver of the Orange 22 County van visibly slow down as he approached the stop sign, 23 having observed Mr. Smith approaching on his motorcycle, but 24 that the driver drove through the stop sign and into Mr. Smith’s 25 path and Mr. Smith was unable to avoid a collision, and 26 WHEREAS, the front of the Orange County van struck Mr. 27 Smith, causing severe and life-threatening injuries and 28 necessitating surgical procedures, including a traumatic 29 amputation of his right leg above his knee, and 30 WHEREAS, Mr. Smith also suffered a badly fractured lower 31 left leg with internal fixation, a broken pelvis and sacrum with 32 internal fixation, and damage to the rectum and internal organs, 33 which required a laparotomy, and 34 WHEREAS, the Orange County employee testified that he 35 observed Mr. Smith’s motorcycle as he approached the 36 intersection, but he erroneously believed that it was heading 37 away from him, though there was no evidence to support this 38 claim, and that he was looking to his right, away from Mr. 39 Smith, when he entered the intersection, and 40 WHEREAS, the Orange County employee was issued a citation 41 by the Orlando Police Department for failure to yield from a 42 stop sign, and 43 WHEREAS, after finding for Mr. Smith and against Orange 44 County in a civil jury trial, the jury in the case determined 45 that Mr. Smith’s future medical expenses totaled $2,376,000 over 46 40 years and that his past medical expenses and lost wages 47 totaled $688,807.37, and awarded him $1,749,978 in damages for 48 past and future pain and suffering, for a total award of 49 $4,814,785.37, and 50 WHEREAS, after the total award was reduced by amounts for 51 comparative negligence and Medicaid and Veterans Administration 52 setoffs, a final judgment was entered against Orange County on 53 November 27, 2012, in the amount of $2,913,536.09, and 54 WHEREAS, Orange County has paid Mr. Smith $100,000 pursuant 55 to the statutory limits of liability set forth in s. 768.28, 56 Florida Statutes, which were in effect at the time Mr. Smith’s 57 claim arose, leaving a remaining unpaid balance of 58 $2,813,536.09, NOW, THEREFORE, 59 60 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 61 62 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 63 found and declared to be true. 64 Section 2. Orange County is authorized and directed to 65 appropriate from funds not otherwise encumbered and to draw a 66 warrant in the sum of $2,813,536.09 payable to Robert Allan 67 Smith as compensation for injuries and damages he sustained as a 68 result of the negligence of an employee of Orange County. 69 Section 3. The governmental entity responsible for payment 70 of the warrant shall pay to the Agency for Health Care 71 Administration the amount due under s. 409.910, Florida 72 Statutes, before disbursing any funds to the claimant. The 73 amount due to the agency shall be equal to all unreimbursed 74 medical payments paid by Medicaid up to the date upon which this 75 act becomes a law. 76 Section 4. The amount paid by Orange County pursuant to s. 77 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this act 78 are intended to provide the sole compensation for all present 79 and future claims arising out of the factual situation described 80 in this act which resulted in injuries and damages to Robert 81 Allan Smith. The total amount of attorney fees relating to this 82 claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under this 83 act. 84 Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.