Florida Senate - 2017                             (NP)    SB 300
       By Senator Torres
       15-00570-17                                            2017300__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Robert Allan Smith by Orange
    3         County; providing for an appropriation to compensate
    4         him for injuries sustained as a result of the
    5         negligence of an employee of Orange County; providing
    6         a limitation on the payment of fees and costs;
    7         providing an effective date.
    9         WHEREAS, at 1:43 p.m. on September 7, 2006, Robert Allan
   10  Smith was driving his motorcycle north on DePauw Avenue in
   11  Orlando, the quiet residential street he lived on, within 300
   12  feet of his home, within the 25 mph posted speed limit, and with
   13  headlights on in clear, dry weather, and
   14         WHEREAS, as Robert Allan Smith approached the intersection
   15  of DePauw Avenue and Orlando Street, at which stop signs are
   16  posted for vehicles traveling on Orlando Street, an Orange
   17  County work van driven by Orange County employee Lynn Lawrence
   18  Godden, which was traveling west on Orlando Street, negligently
   19  pulled away from the stop sign, colliding with Mr. Smith, and
   20         WHEREAS, Robert Allan Smith said that he saw the driver of
   21  the Orange County van visibly slow down as he approached the
   22  stop sign, having observed Mr. Smith approaching on his
   23  motorcycle, but that the driver drove through the stop sign and
   24  into Mr. Smith’s path and Mr. Smith was unable to avoid a
   25  collision, and
   26         WHEREAS, the front of the Orange County van struck Robert
   27  Allan Smith, causing severe and life-threatening injuries and
   28  necessitating surgical procedures, including a traumatic
   29  amputation of his right leg above his knee, and
   30         WHEREAS, Robert Allan Smith also suffered a badly fractured
   31  lower left leg with internal fixation, a broken pelvis and
   32  sacrum with internal fixation, and damage to the rectum and
   33  internal organs, which required a laparotomy, and
   34         WHEREAS, the Orange County employee testified that he
   35  observed Robert Allan Smith’s motorcycle as he approached the
   36  intersection, but he erroneously believed that it was heading
   37  away from him, though there was no evidence to support this
   38  claim, and that he was looking to his right, away from Mr.
   39  Smith, when he entered the intersection, and
   40         WHEREAS, the Orange County employee was issued a citation
   41  by the Orlando Police Department for failure to yield right of
   42  way and subsequently was found guilty by a traffic court judge,
   43  and
   44         WHEREAS, after finding for Robert Allan Smith and against
   45  Orange County in a civil jury trial, the jury in the case
   46  determined that Mr. Smith’s future medical expenses totaled
   47  $2.376 million over 40 years and that his past medical expenses
   48  and lost wages totaled $688,807.37, and awarded him $1,749,978
   49  in damages for past and future pain and suffering, for a total
   50  award of $4,814,785.37, and
   51         WHEREAS, after the total award was reduced by amounts for
   52  comparative negligence and Medicaid and Veteran’s Administration
   53  setoffs, a final judgment was entered against Orange County on
   54  November 27, 2012, in the amount of $2,913,536.09, and
   55         WHEREAS, Orange County has paid Robert Allan Smith $100,000
   56  pursuant to the statutory limits of liability set forth in s.
   57  768.28, Florida Statutes, which were in effect at the time that
   58  Mr. Smith’s claim arose, leaving a remaining unpaid balance of
   59  $2,813,536.09, NOW, THEREFORE,
   61  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   63         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   64  found and declared to be true.
   65         Section 2. Orange County is authorized and directed to
   66  appropriate from funds not otherwise encumbered and to draw a
   67  warrant in the sum of $2,813,536.09 payable to Robert Allan
   68  Smith as compensation for injuries and damages sustained as a
   69  result of the negligence of an employee of Orange County.
   70         Section 3. The amount paid by Orange County pursuant to s.
   71  768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this act
   72  are intended to provide the sole compensation for all present
   73  and future claims arising out of the factual situation described
   74  in this act which resulted in injuries and damages to Robert
   75  Allan Smith. The total amount paid for attorney fees, lobbying
   76  fees, costs, and similar expenses relating to this claim may not
   77  exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under this act.
   78         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.