Florida Senate - 2017                       (NP)    CS for SB 28
       By the Committee on Judiciary; and Senator Simmons
       590-01949-17                                            201728c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of J.D.S.; providing an
    3         appropriation from the General Revenue Fund to
    4         compensate J.D.S. for injuries and damages sustained
    5         as a result of the negligence of the Agency for
    6         Persons with Disabilities, as successor agency of the
    7         Department of Children and Family Services; providing
    8         that certain payments and the appropriation satisfy
    9         all present and future claims related to the negligent
   10         act; providing a limitation on the payment of attorney
   11         fees; providing an effective date.
   13         WHEREAS, in December 2002, J.D.S., a 22-year-old
   14  developmentally disabled woman with autism, cerebral palsy, and
   15  mental retardation, was living at the Strong Group Home, which
   16  was owned and operated by Hester Strong and licensed and
   17  supervised by the Department of Children and Family Services,
   18  and
   19         WHEREAS, in December 2002, J.D.S. was raped and impregnated
   20  by Philip Strong, husband of the owner and operator of the
   21  Strong Group Home, and
   22         WHEREAS, on April 24, 2003, J.D.S.’s pregnancy was
   23  discovered by her physician, and on August 30, 2003, J.D.S. gave
   24  birth to a baby girl, known as G.V.S., who was immediately taken
   25  from J.D.S. and placed for adoption, and
   26         WHEREAS, as a result of her rape and impregnation, J.D.S.
   27  sustained mental anguish and a further diminution in the quality
   28  of her life, and
   29         WHEREAS, J.D.S. filed a claim in Orange County Circuit
   30  Court alleging that the department negligently supervised the
   31  Strong Group Home and that the Strong Group Home was negligently
   32  operated, thereby allowing Philip Strong to rape J.D.S., which
   33  resulted in her impregnation, and
   34         WHEREAS, J.D.S.’s claims against the department, the Strong
   35  Group Home, and other parties were based upon negligence,
   36  violations of chapter 393, Florida Statutes, and violations of
   37  the Bill of Rights of Persons with Developmental Disabilities,
   38  as set forth in s. 393.13, Florida Statutes, and
   39         WHEREAS, as a client of the department, as the term
   40  “client” is defined in s. 393.063, Florida Statutes, J.D.S. had
   41  a right under s. 393.13, Florida Statutes, to “dignity, privacy,
   42  and humane care, including the right to be free from abuse,
   43  including sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation,” and
   44         WHEREAS, J.D.S. alleged that the department had a
   45  nondelegable duty to protect her from foreseeable harm,
   46  including sexual abuse, and
   47         WHEREAS, J.D.S. alleged that the department was liable for
   48  direct negligence relating to its oversight of the Strong Group
   49  Home and that it was vicariously liable for the negligence of
   50  the Strong Group Home under the doctrine of respondeat superior
   51  established under s. 768.28(9)(a), Florida Statutes, and
   52         WHEREAS, before the jury trial was scheduled to commence on
   53  February 6, 2012, the parties agreed to settle the case titled
   54  Patti R. Jarrell, as plenary guardian of J.D.S., an
   55  incapacitated person, Plaintiff, v. State of Florida, Agency for
   56  Persons With Disabilities, as successor agency of the Department
   57  of Children and Family Services, for the sum of $1.15 million,
   58  and
   59         WHEREAS, under the terms of the settlement agreement
   60  consented to by the parties, the Agency for Persons with
   61  Disabilities agreed to pay $200,000 to J.D.S., with the
   62  remaining $950,000 to be paid pursuant to a stipulated claim
   63  bill, and
   64         WHEREAS, the agency has agreed to request an appropriation
   65  from the Legislature in the amount of $950,000, and
   66         WHEREAS, the $950,000 stipulated settlement is sought
   67  through the submission of a claim bill to the Legislature, NOW,
   70  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   72         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   73  found and declared to be true.
   74         Section 2. The sum of $950,000 is appropriated from the
   75  General Revenue Fund to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities
   76  for the relief of J.D.S. as compensation for the injuries and
   77  damages she sustained.
   78         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer shall draw a warrant
   79  upon funds of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities in the
   80  sum of $950,000 and shall pay such amount out of funds in the
   81  State Treasury to the AGED Pooled Special Needs Trust, which
   82  shall be managed and administered on behalf of J.D.S. by AGED,
   83  Inc., a nonprofit trust company.
   84         Section 4. The amount paid by the Agency for Persons with
   85  Disabilities pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the
   86  amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
   87  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
   88  the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
   89  the injuries and damages to J.D.S. The total amount paid for
   90  attorney fees relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent
   91  of the amount awarded under this act.
   92         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.