HB 611

A bill to be entitled
2An act for the relief of Jennifer Graham by the Palm Beach
3County Sheriff's Office; providing for an appropriation to
4compensate Jennifer Graham for injuries sustained as a
5result of the negligence of the sheriff's office;
6requiring the purchase of a specified structured annuity
7and structured educational fund; providing an effective
10     WHEREAS, on June 15, 2003, 29-year-old Jennifer Graham was
11seated on a park bench on the southwest corner of Park Avenue
12located in Palm Beach County, Florida, and
13     WHEREAS, a deputy sheriff of the Palm Beach County
14Sheriff's Office was traveling westbound on Park Avenue at
15approximately 60 to 70 miles per hour according to an
16eyewitness, and
17     WHEREAS, when the deputy sheriff attempted to make a left
18turn at this high rate of speed, he lost control of his vehicle
19and collided with the park bench and Jennifer Graham, and
20     WHEREAS, Ms. Graham was thrown approximately 30 feet due to
21the collision and landed on a concrete sidewalk, and
22     WHEREAS, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
23investigated the accident and determined that the deputy sheriff
24was the sole contributing cause of the accident by exceeding a
25safe speed and losing control of the vehicle while attempting to
26make a left turn, and
27     WHEREAS, Ms. Graham suffered multiple pelvic fractures and
28a bladder rupture, for which she had immediate surgery; a left
29acetabulum fracture; a right sacroiliac joint fracture; a pelvic
30hematoma; and an open laceration from her stomach to her pubic
31bone, and
32     WHEREAS, as a result of her injuries, Ms. Graham later
33underwent multiple surgeries to repair a hernia, a left shoulder
34joint, and the pelvic and iliosacral fractures, the latter
35requiring hardware and screw fixation, and
36     WHEREAS, Ms. Graham was admitted to two rehabilitation
37facilities for a total of approximately 5 months where she was
38diagnosed with chronic pain, gait dysfunction, and depression,
40     WHEREAS, as a result of the accident, Ms. Graham sustained
41a 40-percent permanent functional impairment and permanent gait
42dysfunction, and
43     WHEREAS, due to the severity of her injuries, Ms. Graham
44cannot maintain employment and will require future medical care
45over her lifetime and an additional surgery to remove the
46hardware that was placed in her pelvis and iliosacral joint, and
47     WHEREAS, Ms. Graham's medical expenses resulting from this
48accident were $266,462.44 and the Palm Beach County Health Care
49District has paid a portion of the outstanding medical expenses,
50but has imposed a lien in the amount of $87,937.31, and
51     WHEREAS, the present value of Ms. Graham's total economic
52damages over her lifetime was calculated to be $1,018,988.40;
53however, the expert economist hired by the Palm Beach County
54Sheriff's Office calculated the value to be $771,670, and
55     WHEREAS, Ms. Graham is also entitled to collect damages for
56her past and future pain and suffering, mental anguish,
57disability, and loss of enjoyment of life resulting from the
58devastating injuries and severe impairment she incurred as a
59result of the accident, and
60     WHEREAS, Ms. Graham filed a lawsuit against the Palm Beach
61County Sheriff's Office, and a trial was set to begin on July
6218, 2005, and
63     WHEREAS, on July 13, 2005, Ms. Graham and the Palm Beach
64County Sheriff's Office entered into an agreement to settle the
65lawsuit in the amount of $950,000, of which the sheriff's office
66paid $100,000 at the time the settlement agreement was signed by
67all parties, NOW, THEREFORE,
69Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
71     Section 1.  The facts stated in the preamble to this act
72are found and declared to be true.
73     Section 2.  The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is
74authorized and directed to pay to Jennifer Graham, out of
75insurance proceeds or out of moneys appropriated by the
76sheriff's office from funds of the sheriff's office not
77otherwise encumbered, the sum of $850,000 for injuries and
78damages sustained due to the negligence of the Palm Beach County
79Sheriff's Office in the following manner, as agreed to by the
80parties in their settlement agreement:
81     (1)  Three hundred fifty thousand dollars, paid within 20
82days after notice to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office upon
83the effective date of this act;
84     (2)  Two hundred fifty thousand dollars, paid 1 year
85following the date of the payment of the first payment of
86$350,000; and
87     (3)  Two hundred fifty thousand dollars, paid 2 years
88following the date of the first payment of $350,000.
89     Section 3.  (1)  Within 20 days of the effective date of
90this act, Jennifer Graham shall purchase a structured settlement
91annuity at a cost of no less than $75,000 for the exclusive use
92and benefit of her minor children, Ashley Graham, Tyler Graham,
93and Hunter Graham. Pursuant to the terms of the annuity, each
94child shall be guaranteed monthly payments beginning on the
95effective date of this act and ending on each child's 18th
96birthday. Such funds are to follow the children regardless of
97who their legal custodians are, where the children are living,
98or Jennifer Graham's legal status as a parent, and shall be in
99addition to any child support payments that may be owed or owing
100by Jennifer Graham.
101     (2)  Within 13 months of the effective date of this act,
102Jennifer Graham shall purchase a structured educational fund at
103a cost to Jennifer Graham of no less than $45,000. Such fund
104shall provide a semiannual benefit to each of her three minor
105children, Ashley Graham, Tyler Graham, and Hunter Graham, for 4
106years each, beginning on each child's 18th birthday. Such funds
107are to follow the children regardless of who their legal
108custodians are, where the children are living, or Jennifer
109Graham's legal status as a parent, and shall be in addition to
110any child support payments that may be owed or owing by Jennifer
112     Section 4.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

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