Florida Senate - 2016 (NP) SB 52 By Senator Grimsley 21-00202-16 201652__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Marcus Button by the Pasco 3 County School Board; providing for an appropriation to 4 compensate Marcus Button for injuries sustained as a 5 result of the negligence of an employee of the Pasco 6 County School Board; providing for an appropriation to 7 compensate Mark and Robin Button, as parents and 8 natural guardians of Marcus Button, for injuries and 9 damages sustained by Marcus Button; providing a 10 limitation on the payment of fees and costs; providing 11 an effective date. 12 13 WHEREAS, on the morning of September 22, 2006, Jessica 14 Juettner picked up 16-year-old Marcus Button at his home in 15 order to drive him to Wesley Chapel High School, where both were 16 students, and 17 WHEREAS, as Jessica drove her Dodge Neon west on State Road 18 54, Marcus Button realized that he had left his wallet at home, 19 and Jessica turned the car around and headed back to his home, 20 and 21 WHEREAS, as Jessica approached Meadow Pointe Boulevard, 22 John E. Kinne, who was driving a 35-foot school bus owned by the 23 Pasco County School Board, pulled out in front of her, and 24 WHEREAS, Jessica slammed on the brakes, but her car struck 25 the bus between the wheels and slipped underneath the bus, and 26 WHEREAS, while Jessica suffered only minor injuries, Marcus 27 Button, who was riding in the front passenger seat, sustained 28 facial and skull fractures, brain damage, and vision loss, and 29 WHEREAS, Mr. Kinne and his backup driver, Linda Bone, were 30 the only people on the bus and were not seriously injured, and 31 WHEREAS, Marcus Button was airlifted to St. Joseph’s 32 Children’s Hospital, where he spent 3 weeks recovering, and then 33 was transferred to Tampa General Hospital for rehabilitation for 34 an additional 6 weeks, and 35 WHEREAS, Marcus Button had to relearn how to walk, and 36 currently cannot walk for any substantial length of time without 37 pain, lost most of the sight in his right eye, and suffered 38 facial fractures that left one side of his face higher than the 39 other, and 40 WHEREAS, in addition, Marcus Button can no longer smell, 41 has limited ability to taste, cannot feel textures and, as a 42 result of the brain damage he sustained in the crash, sees and 43 hears things that are not there, speaks with a British or a 44 Southern accent, and is paranoid, and 45 WHEREAS, Marcus Button returned home in November 2006, but 46 his mother, Robin Button, testified, “My son who woke up [in the 47 hospital] was not the same son I gave birth to. He was, but he 48 wasn’t. It was him, his skin, but it wasn’t him in his skin. 49 Different kid. The son I knew is gone. He died on that day,” and 50 WHEREAS, as the operator of a school bus, Mr. Kinne, had 51 the duty to drive the bus in a safe manner and in accordance 52 with state law, but failed to do so, and 53 WHEREAS, Mr. Kinne was later cited for failing to yield the 54 right-of-way, and 55 WHEREAS, in 2007, Marcus Button’s parents sued the Pasco 56 County School Board for negligence and, during the subsequent 57 trial, a pediatric rehabilitation doctor and a neuropsychologist 58 testified that Marcus will require 24-hour care, counseling, 59 interventions, medical care, and pharmaceuticals for the 60 remainder of his life to cope with his physical symptoms and 61 control his psychotic and delusional behavior; that he continues 62 to suffer from memory loss; and that he has trouble sleeping and 63 struggles to concentrate and stay on task, and 64 WHEREAS, an economist who testified at trial estimated that 65 Marcus Button’s future care will cost between $6 million and $10 66 million and that his inability to work will result in the loss 67 of between $365,000 and $570,000 in wages over his lifetime, and 68 WHEREAS, a jury of five men and one woman apportioned 69 responsibility for the crash as follows: the Pasco County School 70 Board, 65 percent; Jessica 20 percent; Marcus Button, 10 71 percent, and 72 WHEREAS, the trial court ordered the Pasco County School 73 Board to pay final judgments of $1,380,967.39 and $289,396.85 to 74 Marcus Button and his parents, Mark and Robin Button, 75 respectively, and 76 WHEREAS, the Pasco County School Board paid $163,000 of the 77 statutory limit of $200,000 pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida 78 Statutes, to Marcus Button and Mark and Robin Button, as parents 79 and natural guardians of Marcus Button, as compensation for 80 injuries and damages that were incurred as a result of the 81 accident that occurred on September 22, 2006, and 82 WHEREAS, the pro rata share of the statutory limit pursuant 83 to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, paid to Marcus Button is 84 $134,752.10, but the balance of $1,380,967.39 remains unpaid, 85 and 86 WHEREAS, the pro rata share of the statutory limit pursuant 87 to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, paid to Mark and Robin Button is 88 $28,247.90, but the balance of $261,148.95 remains unpaid, NOW, 89 THEREFORE, 90 91 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 92 93 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 94 found and declared to be true. 95 Section 2. The Pasco County School Board is authorized and 96 directed to appropriate from funds of the school board not 97 otherwise encumbered and to draw a warrant, payable to Marcus 98 Button, in the amount of $1,246,215.29, to compensate him for 99 injuries and damages sustained due to the negligence of an 100 employee of the school board. 101 Section 3. The Pasco County School Board is authorized and 102 directed to appropriate from funds of the school board not 103 otherwise encumbered and to draw a warrant, payable to Mark and 104 Robin Button, as parents and natural guardians of Marcus Button, 105 in the amount of $261,148.95, to compensate them for injuries 106 and damages sustained by Marcus Button as a result of the 107 accident that occurred on September 22, 2006. 108 Section 4. The amount paid by the Pasco County School Board 109 pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amounts awarded 110 under this act are intended to provide the sole compensation for 111 all present and future claims arising out of the factual 112 situation described in this act which resulted in injuries 113 sustained by Marcus Button. The total amount paid for attorney 114 fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating 115 to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the total amount 116 awarded under this act. 117 Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.