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. 8 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, 60 61 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 62 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.