Florida Senate - 2014                              (NP)    SB 60
       By Senator Grimsley
       21-00142-14                                             201460__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of the Estate of Lazaro
    3         Rodriguez by the City of Hialeah; providing for an
    4         appropriation to compensate the Estate and Lazaro
    5         Rodriguez’s legal survivors for injuries sustained as
    6         a result of the negligence of the City of Hialeah;
    7         providing a limitation on the payment of fees and
    8         costs; providing that the appropriation settles all
    9         present and future claims related to the wrongful
   10         death of Lazaro Rodriguez; providing an effective
   11         date.
   13         WHEREAS, on July 30, 2000, at approximately 10:14 p.m., 29
   14  year-old Lazaro Rodriguez was lawfully and properly operating
   15  his 1997 Ford Explorer in the westbound lanes of East 32nd
   16  Street in the City of Hialeah, and
   17         WHEREAS, at the same time, Officer Jorge Rodriguez, a City
   18  of Hialeah road patrolman, was on duty and overheard a radio
   19  summons of another unit, and despite the fact that he was not
   20  dispatched to the call, decided to respond, and
   21         WHEREAS, in responding to the call, Officer Rodriguez was
   22  traveling northbound on Palm Avenue in the City of Hialeah while
   23  Lazaro Rodriguez was traveling westbound on East 32nd Street,
   24  and
   25         WHEREAS, Officer Rodriguez ran the red light at the
   26  intersection of Palm Avenue and East 32nd Street, crashing his
   27  police cruiser into the driver side of the vehicle driven by
   28  Lazaro Rodriguez, and
   29         WHEREAS, the severe impact of the collision forced Lazaro
   30  Rodriguez’s vehicle into a concrete utility pole at the
   31  northwest corner of the intersection and then into another
   32  vehicle, and
   33         WHEREAS, the force of the crash was so great that it caused
   34  massive and fatal blunt trauma injuries to Lazaro Rodriguez, and
   35  he was pronounced dead at the scene, and
   36         WHEREAS, at the conclusion of the traffic homicide
   37  investigation concerning the death of Lazaro Rodriguez, the City
   38  of Hialeah Police Department found that Officer Rodriguez had
   39  violated Florida traffic statutes by unlawfully running the red
   40  light at the intersection of Palm Avenue and East 32nd Street
   41  and operating his motor vehicle in a careless manner, and that
   42  these violations were the legal cause of the traffic collision
   43  and the death of Lazaro Rodriguez, and
   44         WHEREAS, Lazaro Rodriguez left a widow, Beatriz Luquez, and
   45  children, Lazaro, Jr., and Katherine, all of whom were dependent
   46  upon him financially and emotionally and who loved him dearly,
   47  and
   48         WHEREAS, in 2001, Ms. Luquez, individually and as the
   49  personal representative of the Estate of Lazaro Rodriguez, filed
   50  a wrongful death lawsuit in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in
   51  and for Miami-Dade County, styled Beatriz Luquez, individually
   52  and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Lazaro Rodriguez
   53  v. City of Hialeah, Case No. 01-3691 CA 08, and
   54         WHEREAS, the parties to the lawsuit entered into a formal
   55  settlement agreement following mediation and a unanimous vote by
   56  the Hialeah City Council, and
   57         WHEREAS, the terms of the settlement agreement required the
   58  claimants to dismiss their case with prejudice and provide a
   59  full release of liability to the city and its employees, which
   60  the claimants have done, in exchange for payments by the City of
   61  Hialeah totaling $685,000, plus $25,000 for costs, to be paid
   62  over five years, provided that the Legislature approve the
   63  unpaid amounts, and
   64         WHEREAS, pursuant to the settlement agreement, the City of
   65  Hialeah has paid $200,000 to the claimants, leaving an unpaid
   66  balance of $485,000, and
   67         WHEREAS, as part of the terms of the Settlement Agreement
   68  and General Release, the City of Hialeah has agreed to support
   69  the passage of a claim bill and to pay the remaining balance of
   70  $485,000 in five installments, with the last payment to be made
   71  on July 1, 2016, NOW, THEREFORE,
   73  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   75         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   76  found and declared to be true.
   77         Section 2. The City of Hialeah is authorized and directed
   78  to appropriate from funds of the city not otherwise appropriated
   79  and to draw a warrant in the amount of $485,000, payable to
   80  Beatriz Luquez, individually and as personal representative of
   81  the Estate of Lazaro Rodriguez, and to Lazaro Rodriguez, Jr.,
   82  and Katherine Rodriguez, as compensation for injuries and
   83  damages sustained by the claimants as a result of the death of
   84  Lazaro Rodriguez. The amount of $185,000 shall be paid within 10
   85  days of the effective date of this act, $100,000 shall be paid
   86  on July 1, 2014, $100,000 shall be paid on July 1, 2015, and
   87  $100,000 shall be paid on July 1, 2016.
   88         Section 3. The total amount paid for attorney fees,
   89  lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating to
   90  this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the total amount awarded
   91  under this act.
   92         Section 4. The amounts awarded pursuant to the waiver of
   93  sovereign immunity under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and under
   94  this act are intended to provide the sole compensation for all
   95  present and future claims arising out of the factual situation
   96  described in the preamble to this act which resulted in the
   97  death of Lazaro Rodriguez.
   98         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.