Florida Senate - 2017                       (NP)    CS for SB 24
       By the Committee on Judiciary; and Senator Flores
       590-02188A-17                                           201724c1
    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; providing an effective date.
    9         WHEREAS, on December 15, 2005, 14-year-old Altavious
   10  Carter, a freshman at Summit Christian School in Palm Beach
   11  County, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Vincent H.
   12  Merriweather, and
   13         WHEREAS, while Mr. Merriweather was stopped at a red light
   14  at the intersection of Forest Hill Boulevard and Olympia
   15  Boulevard in Palm Beach County, his vehicle, a van, was struck
   16  by a school bus driven by an employee of the Palm Beach County
   17  School District, 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 Mr. 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, Mr. Carter was taken by ambulance to Wellington
   28  Regional Medical Center and subsequently to St. Mary’s Medical
   29  Center, where he was diagnosed and treated for the injuries he
   30  sustained, and
   31         WHEREAS, Mr. Carter received a discectomy and fusion at C6
   32  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 taken in June
   35  2009 indicated a small herniation at the C7-T1 level,
   36  representing the start of degenerative disc disease, and
   37         WHEREAS, on February 25, 2010, Mr. Carter received a jury
   38  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, on August 4, 2010, an additional final cost
   41  judgment in the amount of $46,830.11 was entered in favor of Mr.
   42  Carter against the Palm Beach County School Board in the same
   43  matter, and
   44         WHEREAS, the Palm Beach County School Board on April 14,
   45  2010, paid the sum of $100,000, the statutory limit at that time
   46  under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, leaving an unpaid balance of
   47  $1,040,864.41 in this matter, and
   48         WHEREAS, the remainder of the judgments in this matter are
   49  sought through the submission of this claim bill to the
   50  Legislature, NOW, THEREFORE,
   52  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   54         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   55  found and declared to be true.
   56         Section 2. The Palm Beach County School Board is authorized
   57  and directed to appropriate from funds of the school board not
   58  otherwise appropriated and to draw a warrant in the sum of
   59  $1,040,864.41, payable to Altavious Carter as compensation for
   60  injuries and damages sustained.
   61         Section 3. The amount paid by the Palm Beach County School
   62  Board under s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded
   63  under this act are intended to provide the sole compensation for
   64  all present and future claims arising out of the factual
   65  situation described in this act which resulted in injuries to
   66  Mr. Carter. The total amount paid for attorney fees relating to
   67  this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the total amount awarded
   68  under this act.
   69         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.