Florida Senate - 2020 CS for SB 16 By the Committee on Judiciary; and Senator Simmons 590-03964-20 202016c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Christeia Jones, as the 3 natural parent and legal guardian of Logan Grant, 4 Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard Maybin; providing an 5 appropriation to compensate them for injuries and 6 damages sustained as a result of the negligence of 7 Trooper Raul Umana and the Florida Highway Patrol, a 8 division of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor 9 Vehicles; providing that certain payments and the 10 appropriation satisfy all present and future claims 11 related to the acts; providing a limitation on the 12 payment of attorney fees; providing an effective date. 13 14 WHEREAS, shortly before 9:25 p.m. on May 18, 2014, Florida 15 Highway Patrol Trooper Raul Umana attempted to cross through a 16 gap in the median onto the southbound lanes of I-75, south of 17 Ocala, and 18 WHEREAS, Trooper Umana misjudged the turn and his vehicle 19 struck the concrete barrier before shooting out into the 20 southbound lane and striking a car driven by Christeia Jones, 21 and 22 WHEREAS, Ms. Jones was transporting her minor sons, 2-year 23 old Logan Grant, who was secured in a forward-facing infant 24 seat, 7-year-old Denard Maybin, Jr., and 5-year-old Lanard 25 Maybin, in the backseat of the car, and 26 WHEREAS, after being struck by Trooper Umana’s vehicle, Ms. 27 Jones’s car was struck in the rear by a tractor trailer, and 28 WHEREAS, the impact crushed the trunk and rear seating area 29 of the car, and 30 WHEREAS, the car was propelled off the road, where it 31 struck a tree and caught fire, and 32 WHEREAS, all three children were transported by helicopter 33 to the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in 34 Gainesville, and 35 WHEREAS, at the hospital, Logan Grant was diagnosed with a 36 severe traumatic brain injury, extensive facial fractures, 37 pulmonary edema, and respiratory failure, and 38 WHEREAS, Logan Grant remained in the hospital for a month 39 before he was discharged to Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital in 40 Jacksonville for 2 weeks of brain injury rehabilitation, and 41 WHEREAS, Logan Grant continues to receive speech therapy 42 weekly and struggles with expressive and receptive language, and 43 WHEREAS, Logan Grant also exhibits left-side body weakness 44 and behavioral difficulties, and 45 WHEREAS, Logan Grant’s past medical bills exceed $310,000, 46 and Medicaid has asserted a lien of $135,161.64, and 47 WHEREAS, pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation 48 specialist Dr. Paul Kornberg has examined Logan Grant and has 49 observed ongoing left hemiparesis with motor, perceptual, 50 communicative, cognitive, and behavioral impairments of a 51 permanent nature which will prevent him from achieving gainful 52 employment, and 53 WHEREAS, Dr. Kornberg reported that Logan Grant is at a 54 high risk for developing seizures in the future, requires 55 ongoing bracing of his left ankle to improve gait, is 56 anticipated to require a scooter for long-distance mobility by 57 the age of 30, is likely to require invasive treatment or 58 orthopedic surgery in the form of left heel-cord lengthening in 59 the future, and is expected to be unable to live alone as an 60 adult, necessitating guardianship and attendant care, and 61 WHEREAS, Dr. Michael Shahnasarian has estimated Logan 62 Grant’s future medical and palliative care needs to be 63 $6,702,555, and his loss of earning capacity over his lifetime 64 to be between $1,543,014 and $2,810,754, and 65 WHEREAS, Lanard Maybin arrived at Shands Hospital with a 66 Glasgow Coma Scale of 7, a head injury, a facial laceration, and 67 a shoulder injury that required surgery, and 68 WHEREAS, a plastic surgeon repaired Lanard Maybin’s facial 69 laceration during his stay in the pediatric intensive care unit 70 before he was discharged from the hospital on May 22, 2014, and 71 WHEREAS, since the accident, Lanard Maybin has experienced 72 night terrors, changes in behavior and temperament, and has 73 gained significant weight, and 74 WHEREAS, in early 2019, Dr. Patrick Gorman evaluated Lanard 75 Maybin and diagnosed him as having posttraumatic stress disorder 76 and significant neurocognitive difficulties secondary to 77 traumatic brain injury, and 78 WHEREAS, Lanard Maybin’s past medical bills amount to 79 $35,584.16, and Medicaid has asserted a lien in the amount of 80 $22,525.66, and 81 WHEREAS, at Shands Hospital, Denard Maybin, Jr., was 82 intubated, was put on mechanical ventilation for a day, and was 83 diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury and a 84 subcutaneous soft tissue scalp laceration that required surgery, 85 and 86 WHEREAS, Denard Maybin, Jr., remained hospitalized for 2 87 weeks before he was transferred to Brooks Rehabilitation Center 88 in Jacksonville for acute inpatient rehabilitation, and 89 WHEREAS, the rehabilitation center noted that Denard 90 Maybin, Jr., had significant cognitive deficits as well as 91 impulsivity and behavioral changes, and 92 WHEREAS, Denard Maybin, Jr., continues to receive 93 occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy, and 94 WHEREAS, Denard Maybin, Jr.,’s past medical bills exceed 95 $175,000, and Medicaid has asserted a lien of $96,833.99, and 96 WHEREAS, specialist Dr. Paul Kornberg has diagnosed Denard 97 Maybin, Jr., with permanent impairment that will prevent him 98 from achieving gainful employment, and 99 WHEREAS, Dr. Kornberg reported that Denard Maybin, Jr., is 100 at a high risk for developing seizures in the future and that he 101 is expected to be unable to live alone as an adult, 102 necessitating guardianship and attendant care, and 103 WHEREAS, Dr. Michael Shahnasarian has estimated Denard 104 Maybin, Jr.,’s future medical and palliative care needs to be 105 $5,773,129, and his loss of earning capacity over his lifetime 106 to be between $1,568,817 and $2,858,577, and 107 WHEREAS, Ms. Jones, as parent and natural guardian of Logan 108 Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard Maybin, through a lawsuit 109 filed in Orange County under case number 2017-CA-00732-O, 110 alleged that the negligence of the Florida Highway Patrol, 111 through its trooper, was the proximate cause of serious injuries 112 to her minor sons, and 113 WHEREAS, Ms. Jones, through a separate lawsuit filed in 114 Orange County under case number 2018-CA-004258-O, alleged that 115 the negligence of the Florida Highway Patrol, through its 116 trooper, was the proximate cause of her injuries, and 117 WHEREAS, on November 30, 2018, in case number 2017-CA 118 00732-O, Ms. Jones and the Florida Highway Patrol entered into a 119 settlement agreement regarding the claims of Ms. Jones and her 120 minor sons which arose out of the accident described in this 121 act, including the claims under case number 2018-CA-004258-O, 122 which are to be dismissed with prejudice, and 123 WHEREAS, Ms. Jones and the Florida Highway Patrol 124 acknowledged that if the case had gone to trial, a jury could 125 reasonably have awarded damages to Ms. Jones in the amount of 126 $18 million, and 127 WHEREAS, the settlement agreement requires the Division of 128 Risk Management of the Department of Financial Services to pay 129 $285,000 to Ms. Jones in accordance with the statutory limits of 130 liability set forth in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and 131 WHEREAS, Ms. Jones seeks satisfaction of the remaining 132 balance of the settlement agreement, which is $17.715 million, 133 NOW, THEREFORE, 134 135 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 136 137 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 138 found and declared to be true. 139 Section 2. The sum of $9 million is appropriated from the 140 General Revenue Fund to the Department of Highway Safety and 141 Motor Vehicles for the relief of Christeia Jones, as natural 142 parent and legal guardian of Logan Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr., 143 and Lanard Maybin, to compensate Logan Grant, Denard Maybin, 144 Jr., and Lanard Maybin for injuries and damages sustained as a 145 result of the accident that occurred on May 18, 2014, due to the 146 negligence of Trooper Raul Umana, an employee of the Department 147 of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. 148 Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw 149 a warrant in favor of the special needs trusts for the exclusive 150 use and benefit of Logan Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard 151 Maybin in the sum of $9 million upon funds of the Department of 152 Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in the State Treasury and to 153 pay the same out of such funds in the State Treasury. 154 Section 4. The amount paid by the Division of Risk 155 Management of the Department of Financial Services in accordance 156 with the statutory limits of liability set forth in s. 768.28, 157 Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this act are 158 intended to provide the sole compensation for all present and 159 future claims arising out of the factual situation described in 160 this act which resulted in damages sustained by Logan Grant, 161 Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard Maybin. Of the amount awarded 162 under this act, the total amount paid for attorney fees may not 163 exceed $1,800,000, the total amount paid for lobbying fees may 164 not exceed $450,000, and the total amount paid for costs or 165 other similar expenses may not exceed $15,603.17. 166 Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.