Florida Senate - 2016                       (NP)    CS for SB 30
       By the Committee on Judiciary; and Senator Garcia
       590-03326-16                                            201630c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of C.M.H.; providing an
    3         appropriation to compensate C.M.H. for injuries and
    4         damages sustained as a result of the negligence of the
    5         Department of Children and Families, formerly known as
    6         the Department of Children and Family Services;
    7         providing a limitation on the payment of fees and
    8         costs; providing an effective date.
   10         WHEREAS, beginning at a very young age, J.W. was subjected
   11  to incidents of physical and sexual abuse, which caused him to
   12  become sexually aggressive, and
   13         WHEREAS, on September 5, 2002, J.W., then in the custody of
   14  the Department of Children and Families (DCF), formerly known as
   15  the Department of Children and Family Services, was placed into
   16  the home of C.M.H., whose parents volunteered to have J.W. live
   17  in their home, and
   18         WHEREAS, prior to the placement of J.W. with the family,
   19  DCF obtained a comprehensive behavioral health assessment that
   20  stated that J.W. was sexually aggressive and recommended
   21  specific precautions and training for potential foster parents,
   22  which C.M.H.’s parents did not receive, and
   23         WHEREAS, the testimony of the DCF caseworker confirms that
   24  DCF was aware that then-10-year-old J.W. and then-8-year-old
   25  C.M.H. were sharing a bedroom, and
   26         WHEREAS, on October 31, 2002, J.W. sexually assaulted a 4
   27  year-old child who was visiting C.M.H.’s home, and
   28         WHEREAS, although DCF knew that J.W. was sexually
   29  aggressive, the agency did not remove him from the home, and
   30         WHEREAS, after November 2002, J.W.’s behavioral problems
   31  escalated, and he deliberately squeezed C.M.H.’s pet mouse to
   32  death in front of C.M.H. and made physical threats toward
   33  C.M.H., and
   34         WHEREAS, C.M.H.’s parents began to discuss adopting J.W.,
   35  whom they considered a part of their family, and
   36         WHEREAS, in January 2004, the family began taking
   37  therapeutic parenting classes to better meet J.W.’s needs, and
   38         WHEREAS, in March 2004, after C.M.H.’s mother was diagnosed
   39  with Stage 4, terminal, metastatic colon cancer, which had
   40  spread to her liver, C.M.H.’s father, requested that DCF stop
   41  the process of having the family designated as “long-term
   42  nonrelative caregivers,” and
   43         WHEREAS, in April 2004, DCF closed out J.W.’s dependency
   44  file, leaving J.W. in the custody of the family, and
   45         WHEREAS, in April 2005, C.M.H.’s father wrote DCF and the
   46  juvenile judge assigned to the case to request help in placing
   47  J.W. in a residential treatment facility, and
   48         WHEREAS, on July 28, 2005, after a physical altercation
   49  between J.W. and C.M.H., C.M.H. disclosed to his parents that
   50  J.W. had sexually assaulted him, and J.W. was immediately
   51  removed from the home, and
   52         WHEREAS, C.M.H. sustained severe and permanent psychiatric
   53  injury, including posttraumatic stress disorder, as a result of
   54  the sexual and emotional abuse perpetrated by J.W., and
   55         WHEREAS, the sexual assault of C.M.H. by J.W. was
   56  predictable and preventable, and
   57         WHEREAS, on April 14, 2006, a lawsuit, Case No. 2006 CA
   58  003727, was filed in the 15th Judicial Circuit in and for Palm
   59  Beach County on behalf of C.M.H., by and through his parents,
   60  alleging negligence on the part of DCF and its providers, which
   61  allowed the perpetration of sexual abuse against and the
   62  victimization of C.M.H. by J.W., and
   63         WHEREAS, a mutually agreeable settlement could not be
   64  reached between all parties, and a jury trial was set in Palm
   65  Beach County, and
   66         WHEREAS, on January 2, 2014, after a jury trial and
   67  verdict, the court entered a judgment against DCF for
   68  $5,176,543.08, including costs, and
   69         WHEREAS, the Division of Risk Management of the Department
   70  of Financial Services has paid the family of C.M.H. $100,000, as
   71  allowed under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and
   72         WHEREAS, C.M.H., now 22 years of age, is at a vulnerable
   73  stage in his life and urgently needs to recover the balance of
   74  the judgment awarded him so that his psychiatric injuries may be
   75  addressed and he may lead a normal life, and
   76         WHEREAS, the balance of the judgment is to be paid into an
   77  irrevocable trust through the passage of this claim bill in the
   78  amount of $5,076,543.08, NOW, THEREFORE,
   80  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   82         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   83  found and declared to be true.
   84         Section 2. There is appropriated from the General Revenue
   85  Fund to the Department of Children and Families the sum of
   86  $5,076,543.08 for the relief of C.M.H. for the personal injuries
   87  and damages he sustained. After payment of attorney fees and
   88  costs, lobbying fees, and other similar expenses relating to
   89  this claim, the remaining funds shall be placed into an
   90  irrevocable trust created for C.M.H. for his exclusive use and
   91  benefit.
   92         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
   93  a warrant in favor of C.M.H. in the sum of $5,076,543.08 upon
   94  funds of the Department of Children and Families in the State
   95  Treasury, and the Chief Financial Officer is directed to pay the
   96  same out of such funds in the State Treasury not otherwise
   97  appropriated.
   98         Section 4. The amount paid by the Department of Children
   99  and Families pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the
  100  amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
  101  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
  102  the factual situation described in the preamble to this act
  103  which resulted in the personal injuries and damages to C.M.H.
  104  The total amount of attorney fees and lobbying fees relating to
  105  this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under
  106  this act.
  107         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.