Florida Senate - 2024                              (NP)    SB 12
       By Senator Ingoglia
       11-00065A-24                                            202412__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Mark LaGatta; providing an
    3         appropriation to compensate Mr. LaGatta for injuries
    4         and damages sustained as a result of the negligence of
    5         the Department of Transportation; providing a
    6         limitation on compensation and the payment of attorney
    7         fees; providing an effective date.
    9         WHEREAS, on July 27, 2020, Mark LaGatta and his daughter,
   10  Faith LaGatta, were lawfully traveling on Mr. LaGatta’s
   11  motorcycle eastbound on State Road 24 near the intersection with
   12  SW 95th Avenue in Cedar Key, Levy County, and
   13         WHEREAS, Mr. LaGatta, who was 57 years old at the time, was
   14  operating the motorcycle, and Faith LaGatta was a passenger on
   15  the motorcycle, and
   16         WHEREAS, the Department of Transportation was doing
   17  roadwork on State Road 24 to repair damage caused to the road by
   18  a sinkhole, and
   19         WHEREAS, the department created a work zone, marking the
   20  closed westbound lane with cones and leaving only the eastbound
   21  lane open for travel, and
   22         WHEREAS, the department’s work zone had flaggers present to
   23  direct the flow of traffic, and a flagger directed Mr. LaGatta
   24  to proceed eastbound through the work zone, and
   25         WHEREAS, an employee of the department was operating a
   26  tractor with a box blade attachment in the westbound travel
   27  lane, and
   28         WHEREAS, the employee backed up into the eastbound travel
   29  lane, directly in front of Mr. LaGatta, causing a collision
   30  between the tractor’s box blade and Mr. LaGatta’s motorcycle,
   31  and
   32         WHEREAS, as a result of the accident, Mr. LaGatta sustained
   33  severe injuries to his legs which resulted in the amputation of
   34  his left leg, and
   35         WHEREAS, Mr. LaGatta was hospitalized for several weeks as
   36  a result of the accident, underwent 7 surgeries and a
   37  tracheotomy, and was placed in an induced coma, and
   38         WHEREAS, Mr. LaGatta was hospitalized when COVID-19
   39  protocols were enforced, and none of his five children were
   40  allowed to visit him in the hospital, and
   41         WHEREAS, Mr. LaGatta remains medically unable to return to
   42  his career as a maintenance engineer, and
   43         WHEREAS, Mr. LaGatta suffered bodily injury resulting in
   44  pain and suffering; disability; disfigurement; mental anguish;
   45  lost capacity for the enjoyment of life; the expense of
   46  hospitalization and medical and nursing care and treatment; lost
   47  earnings; and lost earning capacity from the time of the
   48  accident forward, and
   49         WHEREAS, on February 28, 2023, in resolving the civil
   50  action brought in circuit court for the Eighth Judicial Circuit,
   51  in and for Levy County, Case No. 38 2021 CA 54, a final judgment
   52  was entered in favor of Mr. LaGatta against the Department of
   53  Transportation, in the amount of $2.32 million, and
   54         WHEREAS, the Department of Transportation has paid $120,000
   55  to Mr. LaGatta under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and
   56         WHEREAS, the Department of Transportation has agreed to
   57  support this claim bill, NOW, THEREFORE,
   59  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   61         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   62  found and declared to be true.
   63         Section 2. The sum of $2.2 million is appropriated from the
   64  General Revenue Fund to the Department of Transportation for the
   65  relief of Mark LaGatta for injuries and damages sustained.
   66         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
   67  a warrant in favor of Mark LaGatta in the amount of $2.2 million
   68  upon funds of the Department of Transportation in the State
   69  Treasury and to pay the same out of such funds in the State
   70  Treasury.
   71         Section 4. The amount paid by the Department of
   72  Transportation pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the
   73  amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
   74  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
   75  the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
   76  injuries and damages to Mark LaGatta. The total amount paid for
   77  attorney fees relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent
   78  of the total amount awarded under this act.
   79         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.