CS/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 for attorney's
8fees, lobbyist's fees, and costs; providing an effective
11     WHEREAS, on June 15, 2003, 29-year-old Jennifer Graham was
12seated on a park bench on the southwest corner of Park Avenue
13located in Palm Beach County, Florida, and
14     WHEREAS, a deputy sheriff of the Palm Beach County
15Sheriff's Office was traveling westbound on Park Avenue at
16approximately 60 to 70 miles per hour according to an
17eyewitness, and
18     WHEREAS, when the deputy sheriff attempted to make a left
19turn at this high rate of speed, he lost control of his vehicle
20and collided with the park bench and Jennifer Graham, and
21     WHEREAS, Ms. Graham was thrown approximately 30 feet due to
22the collision and landed on a concrete sidewalk, and
23     WHEREAS, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
24investigated the accident and determined that the deputy sheriff
25was the sole contributing cause of the accident by exceeding a
26safe speed and losing control of the vehicle while attempting to
27make a left turn, and
28     WHEREAS, Ms. Graham suffered multiple pelvic fractures and
29a bladder rupture, for which she had immediate surgery; a left
30acetabulum fracture; a right sacroiliac joint fracture; a pelvic
31hematoma; and an open laceration from her stomach to her pubic
32bone, and
33     WHEREAS, as a result of her injuries, Ms. Graham later
34underwent multiple surgeries to repair a hernia, a left shoulder
35joint, and the pelvic and iliosacral fractures, the latter
36requiring hardware and screw fixation, and
37     WHEREAS, Ms. Graham was admitted to two rehabilitation
38facilities for a total of approximately 5 months where she was
39diagnosed with chronic pain, gait dysfunction, and depression,
41     WHEREAS, as a result of the accident, Ms. Graham sustained
42a 40-percent permanent functional impairment and permanent gait
43dysfunction, and
44     WHEREAS, due to the severity of her injuries, Ms. Graham
45cannot maintain employment and will require future medical care
46over her lifetime and an additional surgery to remove the
47hardware that was placed in her pelvis and iliosacral joint, and
48     WHEREAS, Ms. Graham's medical expenses resulting from this
49accident were $266,462.44 and the Palm Beach County Health Care
50District has paid a portion of the outstanding medical expenses,
51but has imposed a lien in the amount of $87,937.31, and
52     WHEREAS, the present value of Ms. Graham's total economic
53damages over her lifetime was calculated to be $1,018,988.40;
54however, the expert economist hired by the Palm Beach County
55Sheriff's Office calculated the value to be $771,670, and
56     WHEREAS, Ms. Graham is also entitled to collect damages for
57her past and future pain and suffering, mental anguish,
58disability, and loss of enjoyment of life resulting from the
59devastating injuries and severe impairment she incurred as a
60result of the accident, and
61     WHEREAS, Ms. Graham filed a lawsuit against the Palm Beach
62County Sheriff's Office, and a trial was set to begin on July
6318, 2005, and
64     WHEREAS, on July 13, 2005, Ms. Graham and the Palm Beach
65County Sheriff's Office entered into an agreement to settle the
66lawsuit in the amount of $950,000, of which the sheriff's office
67paid $100,000 at the time the settlement agreement was signed by
68all parties, NOW, THEREFORE,
70Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
72     Section 1.  The facts stated in the preamble to this act
73are found and declared to be true.
74     Section 2.  The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is
75authorized and directed to pay to Jennifer Graham, out of
76insurance proceeds or out of moneys appropriated by the
77sheriff's office from funds of the sheriff's office not
78otherwise encumbered, the sum of $850,000 for injuries and
79damages sustained due to the negligence of the Palm Beach County
80Sheriff's Office in the following manner, as agreed to by the
81parties in their settlement agreement:
82     (1)  Three hundred fifty thousand dollars, paid within 20
83days after notice to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office upon
84the effective date of this act;
85     (2)  Two hundred fifty thousand dollars, paid 1 year
86following the date of the payment of the first payment of
87$350,000; and
88     (3)  Two hundred fifty thousand dollars, paid 2 years
89following the date of the first payment of $350,000.
90     Section 3.  (1)  Within 20 days of the effective date of
91this act, Jennifer Graham shall purchase a structured settlement
92annuity at a cost of no less than $75,000 for the exclusive use
93and benefit of her minor children, Ashley Graham, Tyler Graham,
94and Hunter Graham. Pursuant to the terms of the annuity, each
95child shall be guaranteed monthly payments beginning on the
96month following the effective date of this act and ending on
97each child's 18th birthday. Such funds are to follow the
98children regardless of who their legal custodians are, where the
99children are living, or Jennifer Graham's legal status as a
100parent, and shall be in addition to any child support payments
101that may be owed or owing by Jennifer Graham.
102     (2)  Within 13 months of the effective date of this act,
103Jennifer Graham shall purchase a structured educational fund at
104a cost to Jennifer Graham of no less than $45,000. Such fund
105shall provide a semiannual benefit to each of her three minor
106children, Ashley Graham, Tyler Graham, and Hunter Graham, for 4
107years each, beginning on each child's 18th birthday. Such funds
108are to follow the children regardless of who their legal
109custodians are, where the children are living, or Jennifer
110Graham's legal status as a parent, and shall be in addition to
111any child support payments that may be owed or owing by Jennifer
113Section 4.  Payment for attorney's fees and costs incurred
114by the claimant's attorneys shall not exceed $128,988. Payment
115for the professional services and costs of lobbyists advocating
116for passage of this claim shall not exceed $8,500.
117     Section 5.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

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