Florida Senate - 2016                              (NP)    SB 44
       By Senator Garcia
       38-00168A-16                                            201644__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Susana Castillo, as personal
    3         representative of the Estate of Andrea Castillo;
    4         providing for an appropriation to compensate the
    5         Estate of Andrea Castillo for her death as a result of
    6         the negligence of the City of Hialeah; providing a
    7         limitation on the payment of fees and costs; providing
    8         that the amounts awarded are intended to provide the
    9         sole compensation for all present and future claims
   10         related to the wrongful death of Andrea Castillo;
   11         providing an effective date.
   13         WHEREAS, on October 19, 2012, at about 9:45 p.m., 21-year
   14  old Andrea Castillo was traveling as a passenger in a 2012 Jeep
   15  Compass being operated by her boyfriend, Marco Barrios, at or
   16  near the intersection of E 49th Street and E 9th Court in the
   17  City of Hialeah, and
   18         WHEREAS, at the same time Officer Raul Somarriba, an on
   19  duty patrolman with the Hialeah Police Department was traveling
   20  more than 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit of 40
   21  miles per hour eastbound on E 49th Street toward the
   22  intersection of E 9th Court in an unmarked patrol car, and
   23         WHEREAS, Officer Somarriba does not recall being in pursuit
   24  of any suspect or vehicle, and records and dispatch
   25  communications do not indicate otherwise, and, in any case, the
   26  speed at which he was traveling violated General Order No. 17.06
   27  of the City of Hialeah Police Department Vehicle Pursuit
   28  Protocols, which governs authorized pursuit, and
   29         WHEREAS, Officer Somarriba did not activate the emergency
   30  lights or siren and, while traveling significantly over the
   31  speed limit, crashed into the driver’s side of the Jeep Compass
   32  driven by Marco Barrios while it was crossing the eastbound
   33  lanes of E 49th Street, and
   34         WHEREAS, the severe impact of the collision forced the Jeep
   35  to flip repeatedly and collide with several vehicles parked at
   36  an adjacent car dealership before coming to rest on its side,
   37  and
   38         WHEREAS, the force of the crash was so great that Marco
   39  Barrios was gravely injured and Andrea Castillo was internally
   40  ejected from her seat and discovered in the back hatch area of
   41  the vehicle with massive blunt trauma injuries to her head and
   42  torso, and
   43         WHEREAS, Andrea Castillo died as a result of her injuries
   44  within days of the crash, and
   45         WHEREAS, at the conclusion of the traffic homicide
   46  investigation into the death of Andrea Castillo and a companion
   47  investigation by the state attorney, the Hialeah Police
   48  Department and other investigating agencies concluded that Marco
   49  Barrios duly observed the stop sign at the intersection of E
   50  49th Street and E 9th Court and that Officer Somarriba’s speed
   51  was a contributing factor to the fatal crash, and
   52         WHEREAS, a toxicology test conducted in the course of the
   53  homicide investigation determined that Marco Barrios was not
   54  impaired by alcohol or any other substance at the time of the
   55  crash, and
   56         WHEREAS, the Hialeah Police Department failed to seek or
   57  request preservation of Officer Somarriba’s blood samples within
   58  the 6-day preservation period protocol observed by Ryder Trauma
   59  Center for the retention of such samples, thereby losing the
   60  opportunity to test Officer Somarriba for intoxicants, and
   61         WHEREAS, Andrea Castillo was the only daughter of Susana
   62  and Osvaldo Castillo and is survived by them, her younger
   63  brother, Kevin Castillo, and her grandparents, all of whom were
   64  emotionally dependent upon her and loved her dearly, and
   65         WHEREAS, at the time of her death, Andrea Castillo was
   66  enrolled in college to obtain her degree in education in order
   67  to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother, May Garcia
   68  Clissent, who served as a teacher in Cuba and, for 35 years,
   69  with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and her mother,
   70  Susana Castillo, who serves on the Miami-Dade County School
   71  Board, and
   72         WHEREAS, the Andrea Castillo Foundation has been created in
   73  Andrea’s honor in order to raise funds for students who do not
   74  have the financial means to pursue a degree in education, and
   75         WHEREAS, in 2012, Susana Castillo, individually and as
   76  personal representative of the Estate of Andrea Castillo, filed
   77  a wrongful death lawsuit in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in
   78  and for Miami-Dade County, Susana Vicaria Castillo, as personal
   79  representative of the Estate of Andrea Nicole Castillo,
   80  deceased, v. City of Hialeah, Florida, a municipality and
   81  subdivision of the State of Florida, and Raul Somarriba,
   82  individually, Case No. 13-16278 CA 10, and
   83         WHEREAS, in 2012, Marco Barrios filed a lawsuit in the 11th
   84  Judicial Circuit Court in and for Miami-Dade County, Marco
   85  Barrios, individually, v. City of Hialeah, Florida, a Florida
   86  municipal governmental entity, Case No. 13-15659 CA 10, and
   87         WHEREAS, following litigation and mediation of their
   88  disputes, the parties to such actions on June 9, 2015, entered
   89  into a settlement agreement, which agreement was approved by the
   90  Hialeah City Council, and
   91         WHEREAS, the terms of the settlement agreement required the
   92  claimants, Marco Barrios and the Estate of Andrea Castillo, to
   93  dismiss their cases with prejudice and provide a full release of
   94  liability to the City of Hialeah and its employees, which the
   95  claimants have done, in exchange for payments by the City of
   96  Hialeah totaling $750,000, inclusive of all claimants, and
   97         WHEREAS, pursuant to the settlement agreement, the City of
   98  Hialeah has paid $295,000 to the claimants, leaving an unpaid
   99  balance of $455,000, and
  100         WHEREAS, as part of the terms of the settlement agreement
  101  and general release, the City of Hialeah has agreed to support
  102  the passage of a claim bill and to pay the remaining balance of
  103  $455,000 in installments, with the last payment to be made on
  104  May 1, 2018, NOW, THEREFORE,
  107  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  109         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
  110  found and declared to be true.
  111         Section 2. The City of Hialeah is authorized and directed
  112  to appropriate from funds of the city not otherwise appropriated
  113  and to draw warrants totaling the amount of $455,000, payable to
  114  the law firm of Silva & Silva, P.A., Trust Account for the
  115  benefit of Susana Castillo, as personal representative of the
  116  Estate of Andrea Nicole Castillo, as compensation for injuries
  117  and damages sustained as a result of the death of Andrea
  118  Castillo. The amount of $150,000 shall be paid on May 1, 2016,
  119  the amount of $150,000 shall be paid on May 1, 2017, and the
  120  final payment amount of $155,000 shall be paid on May 1, 2018.
  121         Section 3. The total amount paid for attorney fees,
  122  lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating to the
  123  claims may not exceed 25 percent of the total amount awarded
  124  under this act.
  125         Section 4. The amounts awarded pursuant to the waiver of
  126  sovereign immunity under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and under
  127  this act are intended to provide the sole compensation for all
  128  present and future claims arising out of the factual situation
  129  described in the preamble to this act which resulted in the
  130  death of Andrea Castillo.
  131         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.