Florida Senate - 2016              PROPOSED COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE
       Bill No. CS for SB 58
       Proposed Committee Substitute by the Committee on Appropriations
       (Appropriations Subcommittee on Education)
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Q.B. by the Palm Beach County
    3         School Board; providing for an appropriation and an
    4         annuity to compensate Q.B. for injuries sustained as a
    5         result of the negligence of employees of the Palm
    6         Beach County School District; providing a limitation
    7         on the payment of fees and costs; providing that the
    8         appropriation settles all present and future claims
    9         related to the negligent act; providing an effective
   10         date.
   12         WHEREAS, in January 2007, Q.B. was a 3-year-old exceptional
   13  student education (ESE) student at Glade View Elementary School
   14  in the Palm Beach County School District, and
   15         WHEREAS, at that time, Q.B.’s speech and language
   16  capabilities were developmentally delayed, and Q.B. had
   17  virtually no capacity for speech, and
   18         WHEREAS, on January 16, 2007, a school bus owned by the
   19  Palm Beach County School District was being driven by a bus
   20  driver employed by the district with a bus aide, also employed
   21  by the district, riding as a passenger, to transport Q.B. to her
   22  home from Glade View Elementary School, and
   23         WHEREAS, at the same time, a 15-year-old male high school
   24  student who had emotional and behavioral disabilities and who
   25  was considered severely emotionally disturbed by the Palm Beach
   26  County School District was also a passenger on the school bus,
   27  and
   28         WHEREAS, the 15-year-old male high school student left his
   29  assigned bus seat, approached Q.B., and proceeded to sexually
   30  assault Q.B. for approximately 15 minutes before the sexual
   31  assault was discovered and stopped by the bus aide, and
   32         WHEREAS, neither the bus driver nor the bus aide made any
   33  effort to require the 15-year-old male high school student to
   34  return to his assigned seat in the wake of the sexual assault,
   35  but allowed him to remain sitting next to Q.B. for the remainder
   36  of the bus ride, and
   37         WHEREAS, the duties of the bus driver and the bus aide
   38  included supervising the students on the bus, ensuring that all
   39  students were in compliance with bus safety rules, and ensuring
   40  the safety of all students on the bus, and
   41         WHEREAS, the bus driver and the bus aide failed to properly
   42  supervise the 15-year-old male high school student, failed to
   43  properly supervise Q.B., and failed to ensure the safety of
   44  Q.B., and, as a direct result of the breach of such duties, the
   45  15-year-old male high school student was able to sexually
   46  assault Q.B., and
   47         WHEREAS, the sexual assault was captured on video by a
   48  camera installed on the school bus, and the sexual assault
   49  resulted in physical, emotional, and psychological trauma to
   50  Q.B. and further diminished the quality of her life, and
   51         WHEREAS, the Palm Beach County School Board is vicariously
   52  liable for the negligence of the bus driver and the bus aide
   53  under the doctrine of respondeat superior, s. 768.28(9)(a),
   54  Florida Statutes, and
   55         WHEREAS, on January 6, 2010, the parents of Q.B. filed a
   56  negligence action against the Palm Beach County School Board in
   57  Palm Beach County Circuit Court, styled T.B. and S.W., as
   58  Parents and Natural Guardians of Q.B., a minor, Plaintiff v. The
   59  School Board of Palm Beach County, Defendant, Case No.
   60  502010CA000194MBAA, to recover damages for the injuries
   61  sustained by Q.B. due to the sexual assault, and
   62         WHEREAS, 6 years after the sexual assault and 2 weeks
   63  before the commencement of trial, the Palm Beach County School
   64  Board admitted liability for negligence, and the case proceeded
   65  to trial only on the issue of damages, and
   66         WHEREAS, on February 6, 2013, the jury returned a verdict
   67  of $1,777,950 to compensate Q.B. for her injuries and provide
   68  for her future care and treatment, and
   69         WHEREAS, the Palm Beach County School Board has paid
   70  $100,000 of the judgment pursuant to the statutory limits of
   71  liability under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and
   72         WHEREAS, the parties agreed to and approved a settlement on
   73  December 16, 2015, which, among other things, requires the Palm
   74  Beach County School Board to provide employment coaching and
   75  education services to Q.B., and
   76         WHEREAS, the settlement agreement also requires the Palm
   77  Beach County School Board to compensate Q.B. in the amount of
   78  $600,000 and to purchase an annuity for Q.B.’s benefit, NOW,
   81  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   83         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   84  found and declared to be true.
   85         Section 2. The Palm Beach County School Board is authorized
   86  and directed to:
   87         (1) Appropriate from funds of the school board not
   88  otherwise appropriated and to draw a warrant in the sum of
   89  $600,000, payable in two annual installments of $300,000, which,
   90  after payment of fees, costs, and expenses as provided in
   91  section 3, shall be placed in a special needs trust for the
   92  exclusive use and benefit of Q.B. to compensate her for injuries
   93  and damages she sustained as a result of the negligence of
   94  employees of the Palm Beach County School District; and
   95         (2) Purchase an annuity for Q.B.’s benefit. The annuity
   96  shall provide annual disbursements to Q.B. beginning on June 23,
   97  2024. Each annual payment shall be at least $14,850. The annuity
   98  shall guarantee such annual payments for a minimum of 40 years,
   99  for a total guaranteed benefit of $594,000.
  100         Section 3. The total amount paid for attorney fees,
  101  lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating to
  102  this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under
  103  this act. Attorney or lobbyist fees may not be assessed against
  104  the value of the annuity.
  105         Section 4. The compensation awarded under this act is
  106  intended to provide the sole compensation for all present and
  107  future claims arising out of the factual situation described in
  108  this act which resulted in the injuries to Q.B.
  109         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.