Florida Senate - 2019 (NP) SB 40 By Senator Taddeo 40-00137-19 201940__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Ruth Arizpe by the Palm Beach 3 County Board of County Commissioners; providing for an 4 appropriation to compensate her for injuries and 5 damages sustained as a result of the negligence of an 6 employee of Palm Beach County; providing a limitation 7 on the payment of compensation and attorney fees; 8 providing an effective date. 9 10 WHEREAS, on February 5, 2015, Ruth Arizpe boarded a Palm 11 Tran bus, owned and operated by Palm Beach County, and 12 WHEREAS, the bus driver abruptly accelerated before Ms. 13 Arizpe was seated, even though the bus driver knew that the 14 floor was wet and slippery, causing Ms. Arizpe to fall on the 15 rainslicked floor, and 16 WHEREAS, Ms. Arizpe was transported by Palm Beach County 17 Fire Rescue to the Wellington Regional Medical Center, where she 18 received six staples and sutures to close a 3-inch laceration on 19 her right knee, and 20 WHEREAS, Ms. Arizpe’s followup care was provided by Robert 21 Simon, M.D., who obtained an MRI of Ms. Arizpe’s low back and 22 right knee, which revealed an extruded herniation impinging on 23 the S1 nerve root in her low back and an effusion consistent 24 with tendonitis in her right knee, and 25 WHEREAS, Ms. Arizpe underwent an intense course of physical 26 therapy and injections to treat her low back and right knee, and 27 WHEREAS, Ms. Arizpe will need to undergo surgeries, engage 28 in periodic courses of physical therapy, take pain medication, 29 and receive injection therapy due to the permanent injury and 30 disability to her low back and right knee, and 31 WHEREAS, Ms. Arizpe has incurred medical bills in the 32 amount of $45,150.72, and the cost of her future medical 33 treatment is projected to be $484,198.25, and 34 WHEREAS, as a matter of law, a jury returned a verdict 35 against the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners and 36 the verdict was reduced to a final judgment in the amount of 37 $512,546.56, and 38 WHEREAS, pursuant to the judgment, the Palm Beach County 39 Board of County Commissioners has paid $200,000 to Ms. Arizpe 40 under the statutory limits of liability set forth in s. 768.28, 41 Florida Statutes, and $312,546.56 remains unpaid, NOW, 42 THEREFORE, 43 44 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 45 46 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 47 found and declared to be true. 48 Section 2. The Palm Beach County Board of County 49 Commissioners is authorized and directed to appropriate from 50 funds not otherwise encumbered and to draw a warrant payable to 51 Ruth Arizpe in the sum of $312,546.56 as compensation for 52 injuries and damages sustained. 53 Section 3. The amount paid by the Palm Beach County Board 54 of County Commissioners pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, 55 and the amount awarded under this act are intended to provide 56 the sole compensation for all present and future claims arising 57 out of the factual situation described in this act which 58 resulted in injuries and damages to Ruth Arizpe. The total 59 amount paid for attorney fees relating to this claim may not 60 exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under this act. 61 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.