Bill Text: FL S0032 | 2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Relief of Christeia Jones by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-07-31 - Filed [S0032 Detail]

Download: Florida-2021-S0032-Introduced.html
       Florida Senate - 2021                              (NP)    SB 32
       
       
        
       By Senator Torres
       
       
       
       
       
       15-00113-21                                             202132__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Christeia Jones, as guardian
    3         of Logan Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard Maybin;
    4         providing an appropriation to compensate them for
    5         injuries and damages sustained as a result of an
    6         automobile accident caused by Trooper Raul Umana, an
    7         employee of the Florida Highway Patrol, a division of
    8         the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles;
    9         providing a limitation on the payment of attorney
   10         fees; providing an effective date.
   11  
   12         WHEREAS, shortly before 9:25 p.m. on May 18, 2014, Florida
   13  Highway Patrol Trooper Raul Umana attempted to cross through a
   14  gap in the median onto the southbound lanes of I-75, south of
   15  Ocala, and
   16         WHEREAS, Trooper Umana misjudged the turn and his vehicle
   17  struck the concrete barrier before crossing into the southbound
   18  lane and striking a car driven by Christeia Jones, and
   19         WHEREAS, Ms. Jones was transporting her minor sons, 2-year
   20  old Logan Grant, who was secured in a forward-facing infant
   21  seat, 7-year-old Denard Maybin, Jr., and 5-year-old Lanard
   22  Maybin, in the backseat of the car, and
   23         WHEREAS, after being struck by Trooper Umana’s vehicle, Ms.
   24  Jones’s car was struck in the rear by a tractor trailer and the
   25  impact crushed the trunk and rear seating area of the car, and
   26         WHEREAS, the car was propelled off the road, where it
   27  struck a tree and caught fire, and
   28         WHEREAS, all three children were transported by helicopter
   29  to the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in
   30  Gainesville, and
   31         WHEREAS, at the hospital, Logan Grant was diagnosed with a
   32  severe traumatic brain injury, extensive facial fractures,
   33  pulmonary edema, and respiratory failure, and
   34         WHEREAS, Logan Grant remained in the hospital for a month
   35  before he was discharged to Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital in
   36  Jacksonville for 2 weeks of brain injury rehabilitation, and
   37         WHEREAS, Logan Grant continues to receive speech therapy
   38  weekly and struggles with expressive and receptive language, and
   39         WHEREAS, Logan Grant also exhibits left-side body weakness
   40  and behavioral difficulties, and
   41         WHEREAS, Logan Grant’s past medical bills exceed $310,000,
   42  and Medicaid has asserted a lien of $135,161.64, and
   43         WHEREAS, pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation
   44  specialist Dr. Paul Kornberg has examined Logan Grant and has
   45  observed ongoing left hemiparesis with motor, perceptual,
   46  communicative, cognitive, and behavioral impairments of a
   47  permanent nature which will prevent him from achieving gainful
   48  employment, and
   49         WHEREAS, Dr. Kornberg reported that Logan Grant is at a
   50  high risk for developing seizures in the future, requires
   51  ongoing bracing of his left ankle to improve gait, is
   52  anticipated to require a scooter for long-distance mobility by
   53  the age of 30, is likely to require invasive treatment or
   54  orthopedic surgery in the form of left heel cord lengthening in
   55  the future, and is expected to be unable to live alone as an
   56  adult, necessitating guardianship and attendant care, and
   57         WHEREAS, Dr. Michael Shahnasarian has estimated Logan
   58  Grant’s future medical and palliative care needs to be
   59  $6,702,555, and his loss of earning capacity over his lifetime
   60  to be between $1,543,014 and $2,810,754, and
   61         WHEREAS, Lanard Maybin arrived at Shands Hospital with a
   62  Glasgow Coma Scale of 7, a head injury, a facial laceration, and
   63  a shoulder injury that required surgery, and
   64         WHEREAS, a plastic surgeon repaired Lanard Maybin’s facial
   65  laceration during his stay in the pediatric intensive care unit
   66  before he was discharged from the hospital on May 22, 2014, and
   67         WHEREAS, since the accident, Lanard Maybin has experienced
   68  night terrors and changes in behavior and temperament, and has
   69  gained significant weight, and
   70         WHEREAS, in early 2019, Dr. Patrick Gorman evaluated Lanard
   71  Maybin and diagnosed him as having posttraumatic stress disorder
   72  and significant neurocognitive difficulties secondary to
   73  traumatic brain injury, and
   74         WHEREAS, Lanard Maybin’s past medical bills amount to
   75  $35,584.16, and Medicaid has asserted a lien in the amount of
   76  $22,525.66, and
   77         WHEREAS, at Shands Hospital, Denard Maybin, Jr., was
   78  intubated, was put on mechanical ventilation for a day, and was
   79  diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury and a
   80  subcutaneous soft tissue scalp laceration that required surgery,
   81  and
   82         WHEREAS, Denard Maybin, Jr., remained hospitalized for 2
   83  weeks before he was transferred to Brooks Rehabilitation Center
   84  for acute inpatient rehabilitation, and
   85         WHEREAS, the rehabilitation center noted that Denard
   86  Maybin, Jr., had significant cognitive deficits as well as
   87  impulsivity and behavioral changes, and
   88         WHEREAS, Denard Maybin, Jr., continues to receive
   89  occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy, and
   90         WHEREAS, the past medical bills of Denard Maybin, Jr.,
   91  exceed $175,000, and Medicaid has asserted a lien of $96,833.99,
   92  and
   93         WHEREAS, Dr. Kornberg has diagnosed Denard Maybin, Jr.,
   94  with permanent impairment that will prevent him from achieving
   95  gainful employment, and
   96         WHEREAS, Dr. Kornberg reported that Denard Maybin, Jr., is
   97  at a high risk for developing seizures in the future and that he
   98  is expected to be unable to live alone as an adult,
   99  necessitating guardianship and attendant care, and
  100         WHEREAS, Dr. Shahnasarian has estimated that future medical
  101  and palliative care needs of Denard Maybin, Jr., to be
  102  $5,773,129, and his loss of earning capacity over his lifetime
  103  to be between $1,568,817 and $2,858,577, and
  104         WHEREAS, Trooper Umana was an employee of the Florida
  105  Highway Patrol, a division of the Department of Highway Safety
  106  and Motor Vehicles, and
  107         WHEREAS, Trooper Umana had a duty to use reasonable care to
  108  avoid accidents and injury to himself and others while driving
  109  his patrol vehicle, and
  110         WHEREAS, Ms. Jones, as parent and natural guardian of Logan
  111  Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard Maybin, through a lawsuit
  112  filed in the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in and
  113  for Orange County under case number 2017-CA-00732-O, alleged
  114  that the negligence of the Florida Highway Patrol, through its
  115  trooper, was the proximate cause of serious injuries to her
  116  minor sons, and
  117         WHEREAS, Ms. Jones, through a separate lawsuit filed in the
  118  Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in and for Orange
  119  County under case number 2018-CA-004258-O, alleged that the
  120  negligence of the Florida Highway Patrol, through its trooper,
  121  was the proximate cause of her own injuries, and
  122         WHEREAS, on November 30, 2018, in case number 2017-CA
  123  00732-O, Ms. Jones and the Florida Highway Patrol entered into a
  124  settlement agreement regarding the claims of Ms. Jones and her
  125  minor sons which arose out of the accident described in this
  126  act, including the claims under case number 2018-CA-004258-O,
  127  which are to be dismissed with prejudice, and
  128         WHEREAS, Ms. Jones and the Florida Highway Patrol
  129  acknowledged that if the case had gone to trial, a jury could
  130  reasonably have awarded damages to Ms. Jones in the amount of
  131  $18 million, and both parties agreed to a settlement in that
  132  amount, and
  133         WHEREAS, the settlement agreement requires the Division of
  134  Risk Management of the Department of Financial Services to pay
  135  $285,000 to Ms. Jones pursuant to the statutory limits of
  136  liability in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and
  137         WHEREAS, Ms. Jones seeks satisfaction of the remaining
  138  balance of the settlement agreement, which is $17.715 million,
  139  NOW, THEREFORE,
  140  
  141  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  142  
  143         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
  144  found and declared to be true.
  145         Section 2. The sum of $17.715 million is appropriated from
  146  the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Highway Safety and
  147  Motor Vehicles for the relief of Christeia Jones as compensation
  148  for injuries and damages sustained by her and her minor sons,
  149  Logan Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard Maybin.
  150         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
  151  a warrant in favor of Christeia Jones in the sum of $17.715
  152  million, minus payments required to satisfy outstanding Medicaid
  153  liens relating to the medical expenses and care of her and her
  154  minor sons, Logan Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard Maybin,
  155  upon funds of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor
  156  Vehicles in the State Treasury and to pay the same out of such
  157  funds in the State Treasury.
  158         Section 4. The amount paid by the Division of Risk
  159  Management of the Department of Financial Services pursuant to
  160  s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this
  161  act are intended to provide the sole compensation for all
  162  present and future claims arising out of the factual situation
  163  described in this act which resulted in injuries and damages
  164  sustained by Christeia Jones and her minor sons, Logan Grant,
  165  Denard Maybin, Jr., and Lanard Maybin. The total amount paid for
  166  attorney fees relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent
  167  of the total amount awarded under this act.
  168         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.

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