Senate Bill sb0034

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    Florida Senate - 2007                                    SB 34

    By Senator Fasano


  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to the Department of

  3         Transportation; providing for the relief of

  4         Amie Draiemann Stephenson, individually, and as

  5         Personal Representative of the Estate of

  6         Christian Darby Stephenson, deceased, and for

  7         the relief of Hailey Morgan Stephenson and

  8         Christian Darby Stephenson, II, as surviving

  9         minor children of the decedent; providing for

10         an appropriation to compensate them for the

11         wrongful death of Christian Darby Stephenson,

12         which was due in part to the negligence of the

13         department; providing an effective date.


15         WHEREAS, on August 12, 2000, 29-year-old Christian

16  Darby Stephenson was driving a gasoline tanker eastbound on

17  the Hart Bridge Expressway in Duval County, and

18         WHEREAS, at the base of the bridge was a large pool of

19  standing water which was caused by a clogged drain, and

20         WHEREAS, the Department of Transportation was

21  responsible for the maintenance of the Hart Bridge Expressway

22  drains at that location, and

23         WHEREAS, as Mr. Stephenson drove over the bridge, a

24  Jeep that was traveling toward the tanker hit the puddle and

25  hydroplaned, and

26         WHEREAS, Christian Stephenson took evasive action to

27  avoid hitting the Jeep and also to avoid two other vehicles

28  that had been involved in previous accidents and were parked

29  in the striped safety zone alongside the expressway, and

30         WHEREAS, Mr. Stephenson attempted to make a hard right

31  turn onto the Atlantic Avenue exit so as to avoid those three


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    Florida Senate - 2007                                    SB 34

 1  other vehicles, but, as he tried to take the exit, the

 2  gasoline tanker jackknifed, struck the guardrail, overturned,

 3  and exploded, and

 4         WHEREAS, Christian Darby Stephenson was subsequently

 5  pronounced dead at the scene, and

 6         WHEREAS, Mr. Stephenson's widow brought suit against

 7  the department in the Circuit Court of the Fourth Judicial

 8  Circuit, in and for Duval County, Florida (Case No. 01-03428

 9  CA), and, on March 22, 2005, the jury returned a verdict that

10  charged the Department of Transportation with 36 percent of

11  the negligence that was a legal cause of Mr. Stephenson's

12  death, and

13         WHEREAS, the jury verdict states the jury's

14  determination that the total amount of damages sustained by

15  Christian Darby Stephenson's estate is $1.3 million; the total

16  amount sustained by Amie Draiemann Stephenson is $763,000; the

17  total amount sustained by Hailey Morgan Stephenson is $1

18  million, and the total amount sustained by Christian Darby

19  Stephenson, II, is $526,000, and

20         WHEREAS, when the aggregate sum of these damages is

21  multiplied by 36 percent, the sum awarded to Mr. Stephenson's

22  estate and the named survivors under the final judgment is

23  $1,292,040, plus taxable costs, and

24         WHEREAS, after the Department of Transportation has

25  paid $200,000, as allowed under section 768.28, Florida

26  Statutes, the remainder subject to being awarded under this

27  act will be $1,092,040, plus taxable costs, NOW, THEREFORE,


29  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:




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    Florida Senate - 2007                                    SB 34

 1         Section 1.  The facts stated in the preamble to this

 2  act are found and declared to be true.

 3         Section 2.  The Chief Financial Officer is authorized

 4  and directed to appropriate from funds of the Department of

 5  Transportation not otherwise appropriated and to draw a

 6  warrant in the sum of $1,092,040, plus taxable costs, payable

 7  to Amie Draiemann Stephenson, as Personal Representative of

 8  the Estate of Christian Darby Stephenson, to compensate Mrs.

 9  Stephenson and the surviving minor children of Mr. and Mrs.

10  Stephenson, Hailey Morgan Stephenson and Christian Darby

11  Stephenson, II, for the wrongful death of Christian Darby

12  Stephenson.

13         Section 3.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a

14  law.


16            *****************************************

17                          SENATE SUMMARY

18    Provides for an appropriation to compensate the widow and
      minor children of Christian Darby Stephenson for the
19    wrongful death of their husband and father, which was due
      in part to the negligence of the Department of
20    Transportation.













CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.