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.
   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,
   53  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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.