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.
   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,
   60  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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.