Florida Senate - 2012                              (NP)    SB 26
       By Senator Bogdanoff
       25-00169-12                                             201226__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Altavious Carter by the Palm
    3         Beach County School Board; providing for an
    4         appropriation to compensate Altavious Carter for
    5         injuries sustained as a result of the negligence of a
    6         bus driver of the Palm Beach County School District;
    7         providing a limitation on the payment of fees and
    8         costs; providing an effective date.
   10         WHEREAS, on December 15, 2005, 14-year-old Altavious
   11  Carter, a freshman at Summit Christian School in Palm Beach
   12  County, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Vincent H.
   13  Merriweather which was struck by a school bus driven by an
   14  employee of the Palm Beach County School District while Mr.
   15  Merriweather was stopped at a red light at the intersection of
   16  Forest Hill Boulevard and Olympia Boulevard in Palm Beach
   17  County, 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 Altavious 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, Altavious Carter was taken by ambulance to
   28  Wellington Regional Medical Center and subsequently to St.
   29  Mary’s Medical Center where he was diagnosed and treated for
   30  these injuries, and
   31         WHEREAS, Altavious Carter received a discectomy/fusion at
   32  C6-7, 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 was taken in June
   35  2009 which indicated a small herniation at the C7-T1 level,
   36  representing the start of degenerative disc disease, and
   37         WHEREAS, on February 25, 2010, Altavious Carter received a
   38  jury 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, the Palm Beach County School Board is obligated to
   41  pay the statutory limit of $100,000 under s. 768.28, Florida
   42  Statutes, and
   43         WHEREAS, the Palm Beach County School Board is responsible
   44  for paying the remainder of the judgment, which is $994,034.30,
   47  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   49         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   50  found and declared to be true.
   51         Section 2. The Palm Beach County School Board is authorized
   52  and directed to appropriate from funds of the school board not
   53  otherwise encumbered and to draw a warrant in the sum of
   54  $944,034.30, payable to Altavious Carter, as compensation for
   55  injuries and damages sustained.
   56         Section 3. The amount paid by the Palm Beach County School
   57  Board pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and amount
   58  awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
   59  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
   60  the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
   61  injuries to Altavious Carter. The total amount paid for
   62  attorney’s fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other similar
   63  expenses relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the
   64  total amount awarded under this act.
   65         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.