HB 687

A bill to be entitled
2An act for the relief of the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn
3Aversa; providing an appropriation to compensate the
4Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa for Dr. Aversa's death
5as result of the negligence of the Department of
6Transportation; requiring the Executive Office of the
7Governor to establish spending authority from
8unappropriated trust fund balances of the department for
9compensation to the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa;
10providing for attorney's fees and costs; providing a
11limitation on the payment of fees and costs; providing an
12effective date.
14     WHEREAS, on June 21, 1999, an employee of the Department of
15Transportation was driving a departmental truck northbound on
16Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County, Florida, and
17     WHEREAS, on that same day, Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa, having
18completed an interview at the University of South Florida
19Medical School, was traveling southbound on Interstate 75, and
20     WHEREAS, according to departmental policy, employees of the
21department are required to ensure that all items used by the
22department and stored on a truck are appropriately secured to
23the truck, and
24     WHEREAS, one such item used by the department and stored on
25the truck was a 12-foot extension ladder stored on the top of
26the truck, and
27     WHEREAS, the department's employee failed to ensure that
28the ladder was secured to the truck before leaving the
29department's maintenance yard, and
30     WHEREAS, thereafter, while the employee traveled northbound
31on Interstate 75, the extension ladder flew from the roof of the
32truck into the northbound traffic following the department's
33truck, and
34     WHEREAS, the driver of the vehicle traveling behind the
35department's truck swerved to avoid hitting the extension
36ladder, which was ejected directly at the driver in her lane of
37traffic, and
38     WHEREAS, as a result of the swerving movements, the driver
39of the vehicle behind the department's truck lost control of her
40vehicle, veered to the left, crossed the Interstate 75 median,
41and struck Dr. Aversa's vehicle, killing Dr. Aversa instantly,
43     WHEREAS, as a result of these events, the Estate of Dr.
44Aversa brought suit against the Department of Transportation for
45the negligence causing the death of Dr. Aversa, and
46     WHEREAS, after 3 years of litigation, the department
47admitted liability for the accident and agreed to settle the
48case, and
49     WHEREAS, the parties agreed to a consent judgment solely
50against the department, with no finding of comparative
51negligence against any other party, in the amount of $797,500,
53     WHEREAS, the Department of Transportation has paid $100,000
54to the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa under the statutory
55limits of liability set forth in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes,
58Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
60     Section 1.  The facts stated in the preamble to this act
61are found and declared to be true.
62     Section 2.  The Executive Office of the Governor is
63directed to establish spending authority from unappropriated
64trust fund balances of the Department of Transportation in the
65amount of $697,500 to a new category titled "Relief: Estate of
66Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa" as compensation to the Estate of Dr.
67Sherrill Lynn Aversa for the death of Dr. Aversa, which amount
68includes attorney's fees and costs.
69     Section 3.  The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
70a warrant in favor of the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa in
71the sum of $697,500 upon funds of the Department of
72Transportation not otherwise encumbered, and the Chief Financial
73Officer is directed to pay the same out of such funds in the
74State Treasury.
75     Section 4.  The amount paid by the Department of
76Transportation pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the
77amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
78compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
79the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
80the death of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa. The total amount paid for
81attorney's fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other similar
82expenses relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the
83amount awarded under this act.
84     Section 5.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

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