Florida Senate - 2019 (NP) SB 34 By Senator Torres 15-00141-19 201934__ 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 Mr. Smith for injuries and damages he sustained as a 5 result of the negligence of an employee of Orange 6 County; providing legislative intent regarding lien 7 interests held by the state; providing a limitation on 8 the payment of fees and costs; providing an effective 9 date. 10 11 WHEREAS, at 1:43 p.m. on September 7, 2006, Robert Allan 12 Smith was driving his motorcycle north on DePauw Avenue, the 13 quiet residential street he lived on in Orlando, within 300 feet 14 of his home, within the 25-mile-per-hour posted speed limit, and 15 with the motorcycle’s headlights on in clear, dry weather, and 16 WHEREAS, as Mr. Smith approached the intersection of DePauw 17 Avenue and Orlando Street, at which stop signs are posted for 18 vehicles traveling on Orlando Street, Orange County employee 19 Lynn Lawrence Godden, who was driving an Orange County work van 20 west on Orlando Street, negligently pulled away from the stop 21 sign, colliding with Mr. Smith, and 22 WHEREAS, Mr. Smith said he saw the driver of the Orange 23 County van visibly slow down as he approached the stop sign, 24 having observed Mr. Smith approaching on his motorcycle, but 25 that the driver drove through the stop sign and into Mr. Smith’s 26 path and Mr. Smith was unable to avoid a collision, and 27 WHEREAS, the front of the Orange County van struck Mr. 28 Smith, causing severe and life-threatening injuries and 29 necessitating surgical procedures, including a traumatic 30 amputation of his right leg above his knee, and 31 WHEREAS, Mr. Smith also suffered a badly fractured lower 32 left leg with internal fixation, a broken pelvis and sacrum with 33 internal fixation, and damage to the rectum and internal organs, 34 which required a laparotomy, and 35 WHEREAS, the Orange County employee testified that he 36 observed Mr. Smith’s motorcycle as he approached the 37 intersection, but he erroneously believed that it was heading 38 away from him, although there was no evidence to support this 39 claim, and that he was looking to his right, away from Mr. 40 Smith, when he entered the intersection, and 41 WHEREAS, the Orange County employee was issued a citation 42 by the Orlando Police Department for failure to yield from a 43 stop sign, and 44 WHEREAS, after finding for Mr. Smith and against Orange 45 County in a civil jury trial, the jury in the case determined 46 that Mr. Smith’s future medical expenses totaled $2.376 million 47 over 40 years and that his past medical expenses and lost wages 48 totaled $688,807.37, and awarded him $1,749,978 in damages for 49 past and future pain and suffering, for a total award of 50 $4,814,785.37, and 51 WHEREAS, after the total award was reduced by amounts for 52 comparative negligence and Medicaid and Veterans 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 Mr. Smith $100,000 pursuant 56 to the statutory limits of liability set forth in s. 768.28, 57 Florida Statutes, which were in effect at the time Mr. Smith’s 58 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 $750,000 payable to Robert Allan Smith as 68 compensation for injuries and damages he sustained as a result 69 of the negligence of an employee of Orange County. 70 Section 3. It is the intent of the Legislature that the 71 lien interests relating to the claim of Robert Allan Smith for 72 the treatment and care of Robert Allan Smith, including Medicaid 73 liens, are hereby waived or extinguished. 74 Section 4. The amount paid by Orange County pursuant to s. 75 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this act 76 are intended to provide the sole compensation for all present 77 and future claims arising out of the factual situation described 78 in this act which resulted in injuries and damages to Robert 79 Allan Smith. Of the amount awarded under this act, the total 80 amount paid for attorney fees may not exceed $150,000, the total 81 amount paid for lobbying fees may not exceed $37,500, and the 82 total amount paid for costs and other similar expenses relating 83 to this claim may not exceed $71,511.15. 84 Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.