Florida Senate - 2013 SB 30 By Senator Flores 37-00028-13 201330__ 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. 9 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, 45 NOW, THEREFORE, 46 47 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 48 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 the 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 attorney 62 fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating 63 to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the total amount 64 awarded under this act. 65 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.