Florida Senate - 2017 SB 24 By Senator Flores 39-00026A-17 201724__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Altavious Carter by the Palm 3 Beach County School Board; providing an appropriation 4 to compensate Mr. Carter for injuries sustained as a 5 result of the negligence of a bus driver of the Palm 6 Beach County School District; providing a limitation 7 on the payment of fees and costs; providing an 8 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, and 14 WHEREAS, while Mr. Merriweather was stopped at a red light 15 at the intersection of Forest Hill Boulevard and Olympia 16 Boulevard in Palm Beach County, his vehicle, a van, was struck 17 by a school bus driven by an employee of the Palm Beach County 18 School District, and 19 WHEREAS, the bus driver, Dennis Gratham, was cited for 20 careless driving and the speed of the bus at the time of impact 21 was 48.5 miles per hour, and 22 WHEREAS, the seat in which Mr. Carter was sitting was 23 broken as a result of the crash, and Mr. Carter, who was wearing 24 a seatbelt, was thrown into the back of the van, his neck was 25 broken at the C6 level, and he suffered a C6-7 interior 26 subluxation and reversal of normal cervical lordosis, with 27 spinal cord flattening, and 28 WHEREAS, Mr. Carter was taken by ambulance to Wellington 29 Regional Medical Center and subsequently to St. Mary’s Medical 30 Center, where he was diagnosed and treated for the injuries he 31 sustained, and 32 WHEREAS, Mr. Carter received a discectomy and fusion at C6 33 7, along with placement of a bone graft and cage, plates, and 34 screws to fuse the spine at C6-7, and 35 WHEREAS, following rehabilitation, an MRI taken in June 36 2009 indicated a small herniation at the C7-T1 level, 37 representing the start of degenerative disc disease, and 38 WHEREAS, on February 25, 2010, Mr. Carter received a jury 39 verdict against the Palm Beach County School Board, and the 40 court entered a judgment in the amount of $1,094,034.30, and 41 WHEREAS, on August 4, 2010, an additional final cost 42 judgment in the amount of $46,830.11 was entered in favor of Mr. 43 Carter against the Palm Beach County School Board in the same 44 matter, and 45 WHEREAS, the Palm Beach County School Board on April 14, 46 2010, paid the sum of $100,000, the statutory limit at that time 47 under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, leaving an unpaid balance of 48 $1,040,864.41 in this matter, and 49 WHEREAS, the remainder of the judgments in this matter are 50 sought through the submission of this claim bill to the 51 Legislature, NOW, THEREFORE, 52 53 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 54 55 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 56 found and declared to be true. 57 Section 2. The Palm Beach County School Board is authorized 58 and directed to appropriate from funds of the school board not 59 otherwise appropriated and to draw a warrant in the sum of 60 $1,040,864.41, payable to Altavious Carter as compensation for 61 injuries and damages sustained. 62 Section 3. The amount paid by the Palm Beach County School 63 Board under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded 64 under this act are intended to provide the sole compensation for 65 all present and future claims arising out of the factual 66 situation described in this act which resulted in injuries to 67 Mr. Carter. The total amount paid for attorney fees, lobbying 68 fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating to this claim 69 may not exceed 25 percent of the total amount awarded under this 70 act. 71 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.