Bill Text: FL S0042 | 2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Relief of Marcus Button by the Pasco County School Board

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-07-31 - Filed [S0042 Detail]

Download: Florida-2021-S0042-Introduced.html
       Florida Senate - 2021                              (NP)    SB 42
       
       
        
       By Senator Gibson
       
       
       
       
       
       6-00149-21                                              202142__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Marcus Button by the Pasco
    3         County School Board; providing an appropriation to
    4         compensate Marcus Button for injuries sustained as a
    5         result of the negligence of an employee of the Pasco
    6         County School Board; providing an appropriation to
    7         compensate Mark and Robin Button, as parents and
    8         natural guardians of Marcus Button, for injuries and
    9         damages sustained by Marcus Button; providing a
   10         limitation on the payment of attorney fees; providing
   11         an effective date.
   12  
   13         WHEREAS, on the morning of September 22, 2006, Jessica
   14  Juettner picked up 16-year-old Marcus Button at his home in
   15  order to drive him to Wesley Chapel High School, where both were
   16  students, and
   17         WHEREAS, as Ms. Juettner drove her Dodge Neon west on State
   18  Road 54, Mr. Button realized that he had left his wallet at
   19  home, and Ms. Juettner turned her car around and headed back to
   20  his home, and
   21         WHEREAS, as Ms. Juettner approached Meadow Pointe
   22  Boulevard, John E. Kinne, who was driving a 35-foot school bus
   23  owned by the Pasco County School Board, pulled out in front of
   24  her, and
   25         WHEREAS, although Ms. Juettner slammed on the brakes, her
   26  car struck the bus between the wheels and slipped underneath the
   27  bus, and
   28         WHEREAS, while Ms. Juettner suffered only minor injuries,
   29  Mr. Button, who was riding in the front passenger seat,
   30  sustained facial and skull fractures, brain damage, and vision
   31  loss, and
   32         WHEREAS, Mr. Kinne and his backup driver, Linda Bone, were
   33  the only people on the bus and were not seriously injured, and
   34         WHEREAS, Mr. Button was airlifted to St. Joseph’s
   35  Children’s Hospital, where he spent 3 weeks recovering, and then
   36  was transferred to Tampa General Hospital for rehabilitation for
   37  an additional 6 weeks, and
   38         WHEREAS, Mr. Button had to relearn how to walk and
   39  currently cannot walk for any substantial length of time without
   40  pain, lost most of the sight in his right eye, and suffered
   41  facial fractures that left one side of his face higher than the
   42  other, and
   43         WHEREAS, in addition, Mr. Button can no longer smell, has
   44  limited ability to taste, cannot feel textures and, as a result
   45  of the brain damage he sustained in the crash, sees and hears
   46  things that are not there, speaks with a British or a Southern
   47  accent, and is paranoid, and
   48         WHEREAS, Mr. Button returned home in November 2006, but his
   49  mother, Robin Button, testified, “My son who woke up [in the
   50  hospital] was not the same son I gave birth to. He was, but he
   51  wasn’t. It was him, his skin, but it wasn’t him in his skin.
   52  Different kid. The son I knew is gone. He died on that day,” and
   53         WHEREAS, as the operator of a school bus, Mr. Kinne had the
   54  duty to drive the bus in a safe manner and in accordance with
   55  state law, but he failed to do so, and
   56         WHEREAS, Mr. Kinne was later cited for failing to yield the
   57  right-of-way, and
   58         WHEREAS, in 2007, Mr. Button’s parents, Mark and Robin
   59  Button, sued the Pasco County School Board for negligence, and,
   60  during the subsequent trial, a pediatric rehabilitation doctor
   61  and a neuropsychologist testified that Mr. Button will require
   62  24-hour care, counseling, interventions, medical care, and
   63  pharmaceuticals for the remainder of his life to cope with his
   64  physical symptoms and to control his psychotic and delusional
   65  behavior; that Mr. Button continues to suffer from memory loss;
   66  and that Mr. Button has trouble sleeping and struggles to
   67  concentrate and stay on task, and
   68         WHEREAS, an economist who testified at trial estimated that
   69  Mr. Button’s future care will cost between $6 million and $10
   70  million and that his inability to work will result in the loss
   71  of between $365,000 and $570,000 in wages over his lifetime, and
   72         WHEREAS, a jury of five men and one woman apportioned
   73  responsibility for the crash as follows: the Pasco County School
   74  Board, 65 percent; Ms. Juettner, 20 percent; and Mr. Button, 15
   75  percent, and
   76         WHEREAS, the trial court ordered the Pasco County School
   77  Board to pay final judgments of $1,380,967.39 and $289,396.85,
   78  to Mr. Button and his parents, respectively, and
   79         WHEREAS, the Pasco County School Board has paid $163,000 of
   80  the $200,000 statutory limit applicable at the time the claim
   81  arose pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes 2009, to Mr.
   82  Button and to Mark and Robin Button, as parents and natural
   83  guardians of Mr. Button, as compensation for the injuries and
   84  damages incurred as a result of the accident, and
   85         WHEREAS, the pro rata share of the statutory limit pursuant
   86  to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes 2009, paid to Mr. Button is
   87  $134,752.10, but the balance of $1,246,215.29 remains unpaid,
   88  and
   89         WHEREAS, the pro rata share of the statutory limit pursuant
   90  to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes 2009, paid to Mark and Robin
   91  Button is $28,247.90, but the balance of $261,148.95 remains
   92  unpaid, NOW, THEREFORE,
   93  
   94  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   95  
   96         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   97  found and declared to be true.
   98         Section 2. The Pasco County School Board is authorized and
   99  directed to appropriate from funds of the school board not
  100  otherwise encumbered and to draw a warrant, payable to Marcus
  101  Button, in the amount of $1,246,215.29, to compensate him for
  102  injuries and damages sustained due to the negligence of an
  103  employee of the school board.
  104         Section 3. The Pasco County School Board is authorized and
  105  directed to appropriate from funds of the school board not
  106  otherwise encumbered and to draw a warrant, payable to Mark and
  107  Robin Button, as parents and natural guardians of Mr. Button, in
  108  the amount of $261,148.95, to compensate them for injuries and
  109  damages sustained by Mr. Button as a result of the accident that
  110  occurred on September 22, 2006, due to the negligence of an
  111  employee of the Pasco County School Board.
  112         Section 4. The amount paid by the Pasco County School Board
  113  pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes 2009, and the amounts
  114  awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
  115  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
  116  the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
  117  injuries sustained by Mr. Button. The total amount paid for
  118  attorney fees relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent
  119  of the total amount awarded under this act.
  120         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

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