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. 12 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, 105 106 107 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 108 109 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.