2023 Legislature                             SB 2, 1st Engrossed
    2         An act for the relief of the Estate of Molly Parker;
    3         providing an appropriation to compensate the estate
    4         for Ms. Parker’s death as a result of the negligence
    5         of the Department of Transportation; providing a
    6         limitation on compensation and the payment of attorney
    7         fees; providing legislative intent regarding the
    8         waiver of certain liens; providing an effective date.
   10         WHEREAS, on December 12, 2019, 39-year-old Molly Parker was
   11  driving her vehicle eastbound on State Road 2 in Jackson County,
   12  Florida, approaching the intersection with Old U.S. Road, and
   13         WHEREAS, at the same time, a dump truck loaded with fill
   14  dirt and weighing over 40,000 pounds, and owned by the
   15  Department of Transportation and driven by an employee of the
   16  department, was traveling southbound on Old U.S. Road and
   17  arrived at a stop sign at the intersection of Old U.S. Road and
   18  State Road 2, and
   19         WHEREAS, the department’s employee, failing to yield the
   20  right-of-way to Ms. Parker as she entered the intersection,
   21  drove the dump truck into the intersection, causing a violent
   22  and severe crash in which Ms. Parker’s vehicle struck the side
   23  of the dump truck, and
   24         WHEREAS, the department’s employee was later cited for a
   25  violation of s. 316.123(2)(a), Florida Statutes, in connection
   26  with the crash, and
   27         WHEREAS, as a result of the impact, Ms. Parker suffered
   28  complex comminuted depressed left cranium skull fractures;
   29  severe traumatic brain injury; extensive mid-face fractures of
   30  her facial bones; a comminuted calcaneal fracture; fractures of
   31  her spinal transverse processes at L1, L2, L3, and L4; a
   32  fracture of her sternum; pulmonary contusions; and kidney
   33  injury, and
   34         WHEREAS, Ms. Parker was designated as being in need of
   35  Level 1 trauma care and transported emergently by helicopter to
   36  Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan, Alabama, where she
   37  underwent emergency brain surgery followed by intensive care,
   38  where she died from her injuries on December 22, 2019, and
   39         WHEREAS, Ms. Parker, through no fault of her own, suffered
   40  and was treated for multiple traumatic injuries until she died
   41  from those injuries, and
   42         WHEREAS, the Estate of Molly Parker incurred costs totaling
   43  $255,347.49 for medical and surgical care and treatment related
   44  to the injuries Ms. Parker suffered in the crash, and
   45         WHEREAS, prior to her death, Ms. Parker was educated and
   46  gainfully employed as a professional photographer; and with a
   47  work life expectancy of another 27.61 years, the amount of her
   48  lost earnings, lost support, lost services, and net
   49  accumulations after reduction to present value is $3,040,393,
   50  and
   51         WHEREAS, Ms. Parker’s survivors, her husband and her 4
   52  year-old son, have experienced mental pain and suffering in
   53  connection with her tragic and traumatic injury and death and,
   54  as a result of her death, must endure the loss of her
   55  companionship, guidance, and protection, and
   56         WHEREAS, the department completed an internal investigation
   57  into the cause of the collision, which included investigations
   58  by a department safety specialist, unit manager, and the
   59  District 3 safety manager, each of whom testified under oath
   60  that the collision was caused solely by the negligence of the
   61  department’s employee and that their investigations revealed
   62  that Ms. Parker did nothing wrong to cause or contribute to
   63  causing the motor vehicle crash that killed her, and
   64         WHEREAS, in resolving the civil action brought by the
   65  personal representative of the Estate of Molly Parker against
   66  the department in the Circuit Court for the Second Judicial
   67  Circuit, in and for Leon County, Case No. 2020-CA-002294, a
   68  final judgment was entered on June 23, 2022, pursuant to the
   69  parties’ settlement agreement, in favor of the estate in the
   70  amount of $6.25 million, and
   71         WHEREAS, under the terms of the settlement agreement, a
   72  total amount of $6.25 million is to be paid to the Estate of
   73  Molly Parker, of which the department has paid $300,000 pursuant
   74  to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and
   75         WHEREAS, the unpaid settlement amount in excess of the
   76  limitations on liability set forth in s. 768.28, Florida
   77  Statutes, is $5.95 million, and
   78         WHEREAS, the department has agreed to this claim bill being
   79  rendered against the department in this matter and supports
   80  passage of this claim bill in the amount agreed upon in the
   81  settlement agreement, NOW, THEREFORE,
   83  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   85         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   86  found and declared to be true.
   87         Section 2. The sum of $5.95 million is appropriated from
   88  the State Transportation Trust Fund to the Department of
   89  Transportation for the relief of the Estate of Molly Parker for
   90  injuries and damages sustained as a result of Ms. Parker’s
   91  death.
   92         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
   93  a warrant in favor of the Estate of Molly Parker in the sum of
   94  $5.95 million upon funds of the Department of Transportation in
   95  the State Treasury and to pay the same out of such funds in the
   96  State Treasury.
   97         Section 4. The amount paid by the Division of Risk
   98  Management of the Department of Financial Services pursuant to
   99  s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this
  100  act are intended to provide the sole compensation for all
  101  present and future claims arising out of the factual situation
  102  described in this act which resulted in the death of Molly
  103  Parker. The total amount paid for attorney fees relating to this
  104  claim may not exceed 25 percent of the sum of the total amount
  105  previously paid by the Department of Transportation and the
  106  amount awarded under this act.
  107         Section 5. Excluding the federal portions of any liens,
  108  Medicaid or otherwise, which the claimant must satisfy pursuant
  109  to s. 409.910, Florida Statutes, it is the intent of the
  110  Legislature that the lien interests relating to the care and
  111  treatment of Molly Parker are hereby waived and extinguished.
  112         Section 6. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.