Florida Senate - 2017 (NP) CS for SB 24 By the Committee on Judiciary; and Senator Flores 590-02188A-17 201724c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Altavious Carter by the Palm 3 Beach County School Board; providing an appropriation 4 to compensate Mr. Carter for injuries sustained as a 5 result of the negligence of a bus driver of the Palm 6 Beach County School District; providing a limitation 7 on the payment of fees; providing an effective date. 8 9 WHEREAS, on December 15, 2005, 14-year-old Altavious 10 Carter, a freshman at Summit Christian School in Palm Beach 11 County, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Vincent H. 12 Merriweather, and 13 WHEREAS, while Mr. Merriweather was stopped at a red light 14 at the intersection of Forest Hill Boulevard and Olympia 15 Boulevard in Palm Beach County, his vehicle, a van, was struck 16 by a school bus driven by an employee of the Palm Beach County 17 School District, and 18 WHEREAS, the bus driver, Dennis Gratham, was cited for 19 careless driving and the speed of the bus at the time of impact 20 was 48.5 miles per hour, and 21 WHEREAS, the seat in which Mr. Carter was sitting was 22 broken as a result of the crash, and Mr. Carter, who was wearing 23 a seatbelt, was thrown into the back of the van, his neck was 24 broken at the C6 level, and he suffered a C6-7 interior 25 subluxation and reversal of normal cervical lordosis, with 26 spinal cord flattening, and 27 WHEREAS, Mr. Carter was taken by ambulance to Wellington 28 Regional Medical Center and subsequently to St. Mary’s Medical 29 Center, where he was diagnosed and treated for the injuries he 30 sustained, and 31 WHEREAS, Mr. Carter received a discectomy and fusion at C6 32 7, along with placement of a bone graft and cage, plates, and 33 screws to fuse the spine at C6-7, and 34 WHEREAS, following rehabilitation, an MRI taken in June 35 2009 indicated a small herniation at the C7-T1 level, 36 representing the start of degenerative disc disease, and 37 WHEREAS, on February 25, 2010, Mr. Carter received a jury 38 verdict against the Palm Beach County School Board, and the 39 court entered a judgment in the amount of $1,094,034.30, and 40 WHEREAS, on August 4, 2010, an additional final cost 41 judgment in the amount of $46,830.11 was entered in favor of Mr. 42 Carter against the Palm Beach County School Board in the same 43 matter, and 44 WHEREAS, the Palm Beach County School Board on April 14, 45 2010, paid the sum of $100,000, the statutory limit at that time 46 under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, leaving an unpaid balance of 47 $1,040,864.41 in this matter, and 48 WHEREAS, the remainder of the judgments in this matter are 49 sought through the submission of this claim bill to the 50 Legislature, NOW, THEREFORE, 51 52 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 53 54 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 55 found and declared to be true. 56 Section 2. The Palm Beach County School Board is authorized 57 and directed to appropriate from funds of the school board not 58 otherwise appropriated and to draw a warrant in the sum of 59 $1,040,864.41, payable to Altavious Carter as compensation for 60 injuries and damages sustained. 61 Section 3. The amount paid by the Palm Beach County School 62 Board under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded 63 under this act are intended to provide the sole compensation for 64 all present and future claims arising out of the factual 65 situation described in this act which resulted in injuries to 66 Mr. Carter. The total amount paid for attorney fees relating to 67 this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the total amount awarded 68 under this act. 69 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.