Florida Senate - 2020 (NP) SB 16 By Senator Simmons 9-00219-20 202016__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Christeia Jones, guardian of 3 Logan Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard Maybin; 4 providing an appropriation to compensate them for 5 injuries and damages sustained as a result of the 6 alleged negligence of Trooper Raul Umana and the 7 Florida Highway Patrol, a division of the Department 8 of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles; providing that 9 certain payments and the appropriation satisfy all 10 present and future claims related to the alleged acts; 11 providing a limitation on the payment of attorney 12 fees; providing an effective date. 13 14 WHEREAS, shortly before 9:25 p.m. on May 18, 2014, Florida 15 Highway Patrol Trooper Raul Umana attempted to cross through a 16 gap in the median onto the southbound lanes of I-75, south of 17 Ocala, and 18 WHEREAS, Trooper Umana misjudged the turn and his vehicle 19 struck the concrete barrier before shooting out into the 20 southbound lane and striking a car driven by Christeia Jones, 21 and 22 WHEREAS, Christeia Jones was transporting her minor sons, 23 2-year-old Logan Grant, who was secured in a forward-facing 24 infant seat, 7-year-old Denard Maybin, Jr., and 5-year-old 25 Lanard Maybin, in the backseat of the car, and 26 WHEREAS, after being struck by Trooper Umana’s vehicle, 27 Christeia Jones’s car was struck in the rear by a tractor 28 trailer, and 29 WHEREAS, the impact crushed the trunk and rear seating area 30 of the car, and 31 WHEREAS, the car was propelled off the road, where it 32 struck a tree and caught fire, and 33 WHEREAS, all three children were transported by helicopter 34 to the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in 35 Gainesville, and 36 WHEREAS, at the hospital, Logan Grant was diagnosed with a 37 severe traumatic brain injury, extensive facial fractures, 38 pulmonary edema, and respiratory failure, and 39 WHEREAS, Logan Grant remained in the hospital for a month 40 before he was discharged to Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital in 41 Jacksonville for 2 weeks of brain injury rehabilitation, and 42 WHEREAS, Logan Grant continues to receive speech therapy 43 weekly and struggles with expressive and receptive language, and 44 WHEREAS, Logan Grant also exhibits left-side body weakness 45 and behavioral difficulties, and 46 WHEREAS, Logan Grant’s past medical bills exceed $310,000, 47 and Medicaid has asserted a lien of $135,161.64, and 48 WHEREAS, pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation 49 specialist Dr. Paul Kornberg has examined Logan Grant and has 50 observed ongoing left hemiparesis with motor, perceptual, 51 communicative, cognitive, and behavioral impairments of a 52 permanent nature which will prevent him from achieving gainful 53 employment, and 54 WHEREAS, Dr. Kornberg reported that Logan Grant is at a 55 high risk for developing seizures in the future, requires 56 ongoing bracing of his left ankle to improve gait, is 57 anticipated to require a scooter for long-distance mobility by 58 the age of 30, is likely to require invasive treatment or 59 orthopedic surgery in the form of left heel-cord lengthening in 60 the future, and is expected to be unable to live alone as an 61 adult, necessitating guardianship and attendant care, and 62 WHEREAS, Dr. Michael Shahnasarian has estimated Logan 63 Grant’s future medical and palliative care needs to be 64 $6,702,555, and his loss of earning capacity over his lifetime 65 to be between $1,543,014 and $2,810,754, and 66 WHEREAS, Lanard Maybin arrived at Shands Hospital with a 67 Glasgow Coma Scale of 7, a head injury, a facial laceration, and 68 a shoulder injury that required surgery, and 69 WHEREAS, a plastic surgeon repaired Lanard Maybin’s facial 70 laceration during his stay in the pediatric intensive care unit 71 before he was discharged from the hospital on May 22, 2014, and 72 WHEREAS, since the accident, Lanard Maybin has experienced 73 night terrors, changes in behavior and temperament, and has 74 gained significant weight, and 75 WHEREAS, in early 2019, Dr. Patrick Gorman evaluated Lanard 76 Maybin and diagnosed him as having posttraumatic stress disorder 77 and significant neurocognitive difficulties secondary to 78 traumatic brain injury, and 79 WHEREAS, Lanard Maybin’s past medical bills amount to 80 $35,584.16, and Medicaid has asserted a lien in the amount of 81 $22,525.66, and 82 WHEREAS, at Shands Hospital, Denard Maybin, Jr., was 83 intubated, was put on mechanical ventilation for a day, and was 84 diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury and a 85 subcutaneous soft tissue scalp laceration that required surgery, 86 and 87 WHEREAS, Denard Maybin, Jr., remained hospitalized for 2 88 weeks before he was transferred to Brooks Rehabilitation Center 89 in Jacksonville for acute inpatient rehabilitation, and 90 WHEREAS, the rehabilitation center noted that Denard 91 Maybin, Jr., had significant cognitive deficits as well as 92 impulsivity and behavioral changes, and 93 WHEREAS, Denard Maybin, Jr., continues to receive 94 occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy, and 95 WHEREAS, Denard Maybin, Jr.,’s past medical bills exceed 96 $175,000, and Medicaid has asserted a lien of $96,833.99, and 97 WHEREAS, specialist Dr. Paul Kornberg has diagnosed Denard 98 Maybin, Jr., with permanent impairment that will prevent him 99 from achieving gainful employment, and 100 WHEREAS, Dr. Kornberg reported that Denard Maybin, Jr., is 101 at a high risk for developing seizures in the future and that he 102 is expected to be unable to live alone as an adult, 103 necessitating guardianship and attendant care, and 104 WHEREAS, Dr. Michael Shahnasarian has estimated Denard 105 Maybin, Jr.,’s future medical and palliative care needs to be 106 $5,773,129, and his loss of earning capacity over his lifetime 107 to be between $1,568,817 and $2,858,577, and 108 WHEREAS, Christeia Jones, as parent and natural guardian of 109 Logan Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard Maybin, through a 110 lawsuit filed in Orange County under case number 2017-CA-00732 111 O, alleged that the negligence of the Florida Highway Patrol, 112 through its trooper, was the proximate cause of serious injuries 113 to her minor sons, and 114 WHEREAS, Christeia Jones, through a separate lawsuit filed 115 in Orange County under case number 2018-CA-004258-O, alleged 116 that the negligence of the Florida Highway Patrol, through its 117 trooper, was the proximate cause of her injuries, and 118 WHEREAS, on November 30, 2018, in case number 2017-CA 119 00732-O, Christeia Jones and the Florida Highway Patrol entered 120 into a settlement agreement regarding the claims of Ms. Jones 121 and her minor sons which arose out of the accident described in 122 this act, including the claims under case number 2018-CA-004258 123 O, which are to be dismissed with prejudice, and 124 WHEREAS, Christeia Jones and the Florida Highway Patrol 125 acknowledged that if the case had gone to trial, a jury could 126 reasonably have awarded damages to Ms. Jones in the amount of 127 $18 million, and 128 WHEREAS, the settlement agreement requires the Division of 129 Risk Management of the Department of Financial Services to pay 130 $285,000 to Christeia Jones in accordance with the statutory 131 limits of liability set forth in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, 132 and 133 WHEREAS, Christeia Jones seeks satisfaction of the 134 remaining balance of the settlement agreement, which is $17.715 135 million, NOW, THEREFORE, 136 137 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 138 139 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 140 found and declared to be true. 141 Section 2. The sum of $17.715 million is appropriated from 142 the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Highway Safety and 143 Motor Vehicles for the relief of Christeia Jones as compensation 144 for injuries and damages sustained by her and her minor sons, 145 Logan Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard Maybin. 146 Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw 147 a warrant in favor of Christeia Jones in the sum of $17.715 148 million, minus payments required to satisfy outstanding Medicaid 149 liens relating to the medical expenses and care of her and her 150 minor sons, Logan Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard Maybin, 151 upon funds of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor 152 Vehicles in the State Treasury and to pay the same out of such 153 funds in the State Treasury. 154 Section 4. The amount paid by the Division of Risk 155 Management of the Department of Financial Services in accordance 156 with the statutory limits of liability set forth in s. 768.28, 157 Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this act are 158 intended to provide the sole compensation for all present and 159 future claims arising out of the factual situation described in 160 this act which resulted in damages sustained by Christeia Jones 161 and her minor sons, Logan Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard 162 Maybin. The total amount paid for attorney fees relating to this 163 claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under this 164 act. 165 Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.