Florida Senate - 2020 (NP) SB 14 By Senator Torres 15-00221-20 202014__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Kareem Hawari by the Osceola 3 County School Board; providing an appropriation to 4 Kareem Hawari to compensate him for injuries and 5 damages sustained as a result of the negligence of 6 employees of the Osceola County School Board; 7 providing a limitation on the payment of attorney 8 fees; providing an effective date. 9 10 WHEREAS, on March 5, 2010, at approximately 6 p.m., then 11 13-year-old Kareem Hawari was participating in a wrestling match 12 sponsored by Harmony Community School in the School District of 13 Osceola County, and 14 WHEREAS, the wrestling match was supervised by coaches 15 employed by the Osceola County School Board, each of whom had a 16 duty to adequately supervise student athletes participating in 17 school-sponsored athletic events by receiving proper training, 18 by providing adequate instruction to student athletes, 19 reasonably selecting or matching student athletes to others in 20 their same weight class for purposes of competition, and 21 monitoring athletic training and events, and 22 WHEREAS, Kareem Hawari’s coach did not receive any formal 23 training and failed to provide Kareem Hawari with adequate 24 instruction before the match, and 25 WHEREAS, Kareem Hawari was matched with a student athlete 26 who was larger, stronger, and more experienced, and who finished 27 the 2010 and 2011 seasons as a county champion wrestler, and 28 WHEREAS, due to the negligent supervision of the coaches, 29 Kareem Hawari hit his head on the ground during the match and 30 suffered a brainstem hemorrhage, which resulted in a traumatic 31 brain injury that affects his motor coordination and ability to 32 speak, and 33 WHEREAS, Kareem Hawari was hospitalized at Osceola Regional 34 Medical Center in Kissimmee on March 5, 2010, and was then 35 transported by helicopter to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children 36 in Orlando, where he was admitted from March 6 to May 4, 2010, 37 and 38 WHEREAS, Kareem Hawari underwent surgery on March 8, 2010, 39 to relieve pressure on his brain and had an additional surgery 40 on March 24, 2010, and 41 WHEREAS, Kareem Hawari was thereafter transferred to Brooks 42 Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, where he was a patient from May 43 4 to June 30, 2010, and 44 WHEREAS, Kareem Hawari received physical therapy at Florida 45 Hospital Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in Altamonte Springs 46 on an outpatient basis from July 12 to October 1, 2014, and 47 WHEREAS, Kareem Hawari seeks to recover damages for his 48 injuries, which include a permanent injury to his body as a 49 whole, past and future pain and suffering of both physical and 50 mental natures, disability, physical impairment, disfigurement, 51 mental anguish, inconvenience, loss of capacity for the 52 enjoyment of life, expense of hospitalization, medical and 53 nursing care and treatment, loss of ability to earn money, and 54 loss of ability to lead and enjoy a normal life, and 55 WHEREAS, Kareem Hawari incurred medical expenses in the 56 amount of $708,309.92 and is permanently and totally disabled 57 and unable to engage in any employment, and 58 WHEREAS, Kareem Hawari lived a full and vigorous life 59 before his injury on March 5, 2010, had a zest for life, and was 60 active in recreational, social, and sporting activities, and 61 WHEREAS, Kareem Hawari requires continuous assistance with 62 activities of daily living and ongoing treatment for his 63 injuries, and 64 WHEREAS, Kareem Hawari filed a lawsuit against the Osceola 65 County School Board and the Foundation for Osceola Education in 66 the Osceola County Circuit Court, alleging that the coaches in 67 their employ had negligently supervised the wrestling match, 68 causing his injuries, and 69 WHEREAS, after extensive discovery and pretrial 70 preparation, the parties settled the case in the amount of $3.6 71 million, of which $100,000 has been paid in accordance with the 72 statutory limits of liability in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes 73 2010, NOW, THEREFORE, 74 75 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 76 77 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 78 found and declared to be true. 79 Section 2. The Osceola County School Board is authorized 80 and directed to appropriate from funds of the school board not 81 otherwise encumbered and to draw a warrant in the sum of $3.5 82 million payable to Kareem Hawari as compensation for injuries 83 and damages sustained. 84 Section 3. The amount paid by the Osceola County School 85 Board and the amount awarded under this act are intended to 86 provide the sole compensation for all present and future claims 87 arising out of the factual situation described in this act which 88 resulted in injuries and damages to Kareem Hawari. The total 89 amount paid for attorney fees relating to this claim may not 90 exceed 25 percent of the total amount awarded under this act. 91 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.