September 19, 2019
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_h0195c1
CS/HB 195

1
A bill to be entitled
2An act for the relief of Pierreisna Archille; providing an
3appropriation to compensate Pierreisna Archille, a
4mentally disabled person, by and through Darlene Achille,
5Limited Guardian of Property for Pierreisna Archille, for
6injuries and damages sustained as a result of the
7negligence of employees of the Department of Children and
8Family Services; providing for reversion of funds;
9providing a limitation on the payment of attorney's fees,
10lobbying fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating
11to the claim; providing an effective date.
12
13     WHEREAS, Pierreisna Archille, a 28-year-old moderately
14retarded woman, has the cognitive ability of a child between
15kindergarten and first-grade level, and
16     WHEREAS, because of allegations of neglect against her
17biological mother and stepfather, Pierreisna Archille and her
18sisters, Darlene and Muriel, were placed in foster care in 1993,
19and
20     WHEREAS, in 1997, when Pierreisna Archille was 15 years
21old, the Archille children were placed in the foster home of
22Bonifacio and Josephine Velazquez, and
23     WHEREAS, the Velazquez foster home was licensed,
24supervised, and monitored by the Department of Children and
25Family Services and its employees and agents, and
26     WHEREAS, after placement of the Archille children in the
27foster home, Darlene Achille complained that Bonifacio
28Velazquez, the foster father, was sexually molesting her and was
29also molesting S.A., a toddler, and
30     WHEREAS, after these complaints were made, both Darlene and
31Muriel were removed from the Velazquez home, but Pierreisna
32Archille remained in the home, and
33     WHEREAS, between June of 1998 through June of 1999,
34Bonifacio Velazquez repeatedly raped and molested Pierreisna
35Archille, resulting in her impregnation and subsequent birth of
36a daughter, and
37     WHEREAS, after the birth of Pierreisna Archille's daughter,
38Takeisha, Pierreisna Archille's younger sister, Darlene, then 19
39years old, undertook the responsibility of helping Pierreisna
40Archille take care of her daughter, and
41     WHEREAS, as a developmentally disabled person, Pierreisna
42Archille is in need of funds necessary for her to care for her
43daughter with the assistance of her sister, Darlene, and
44     WHEREAS, Pierreisna Archille continues to suffer nightmares
45and extreme emotional and psychological trauma as a result of
46the actions giving rise to this claim, and
47     WHEREAS, a life-care continuum was formulated by
48comprehensive rehabilitation consultants detailing the funds
49necessary to provide treatment to Pierreisna Archille, as well
50as to help provide for the support necessary for Pierreisna
51Archille to take care of her daughter, and
52     WHEREAS, Dr. Fred Raffa, an economist, reduced such cost to
53present value in the amount of $4,067,431, and
54     WHEREAS, the dependency court appointed a Limited Guardian
55of Property for Pierreisna Archille for the purpose of assisting
56in obtaining compensation for her damages, and
57     WHEREAS, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Limited
58Guardian of Property for Pierreisna Archille in Naples, Florida,
59against the Department of Children and Family Services, and
60     WHEREAS, Pierreisna Archille, by and through her previous
61Limited Guardian of Property, Patrick Weber, and the Department
62of Children and Family Services agreed to mediation to resolve
63this matter and entered into a settlement agreement to
64compensate Pierreisna Archille for her damages and to provide a
65basis for this claim bill, and
66     WHEREAS, as a result of good-faith negotiations between the
67parties at a court-sanctioned mediation, the Department of
68Children and Family Services and the Limited Guardian of
69Property agreed that $1.3 million is reasonable and fair
70compensation for Pierreisna Archille's damages, and
71     WHEREAS, the Department of Children and Family Services has
72already paid $100,000 in accordance with the provisions of s.
73768.28, Florida Statutes, and
74     WHEREAS, with respect to the $100,000 already paid by the
75department, the appropriate parties agreed to deferred payment
76of attorney's fees and costs of plaintiff's counsel so that
77Pierreisna Archille could immediately have access to needed
78funds, and
79     WHEREAS, the Department of Children and Family Services
80desires to make good on its promise to Pierreisna Archille which
81was made in the Settlement Agreement to compensate her for the
82irreparable harm she suffered in the foster care system, and
83     WHEREAS, the Department of Children and Family Services
84recognizes that Pierreisna Archille was not only victimized by
85her caretaker, but that employees of the department broke a
86sacred trust to her to oversee her safety and care, and
87     WHEREAS, the Department of Children and Family Services
88supports a claim bill in the amount of $1.2 million, NOW,
89THEREFORE,
90
91Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
92
93     Section 1.  The facts stated in the preamble to this act
94are found and declared to be true.
95     Section 2.  (1)  There is appropriated from the Federal
96Grants Trust Fund within the Department of Children and Family
97Services the sum of $1.2 million for the relief of Pierreisna
98Archille, by and through Darlene Achille, Limited Guardian of
99Property for Pierreisna Archille, for injuries and damages
100sustained. After payment of attorney's fees and costs, lobbying
101fees, and other similar expenses relating to this claim as
102provided for in this section, outstanding medical liens, and
103other immediate needs, the remaining funds shall be placed in a
104special needs trust created for the exclusive use and benefit of
105Pierreisna Archille. Any funds remaining in the special needs
106trust upon the death of Pierreisna Archille, after payment of
107any outstanding Medicaid liens, shall become available solely to
108benefit Pierreisna Archille's daughter, Takeisha Archille. If
109Takeisha Archille predeceases her mother, Pierreisna Archille,
110all such sums shall revert to the General Revenue Fund of the
111State of Florida.
112     (2)  Any amount awarded under this act pursuant to the
113waiver of sovereign immunity permitted under s. 768.28, Florida
114Statutes, and this award are intended to provide the sole
115compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
116the factual situation described in the preamble to this act
117which resulted in the injury to Pierreisna Archille. The total
118amount paid for attorney's fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other
119similar expenses relating to this claim may not exceed 25
120percent of the amount awarded under subsection (1).
121     Section 3.  The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
122a warrant in the sum of $1.2 million payable to Pierreisna
123Archille, by and through Darlene Achille, Limited Guardian of
124Property for Pierreisna Archille, upon funds in the State
125Treasury to the credit of the Department of Children and Family
126Services, and the Chief Financial Officer is directed to pay the
127same out of such funds in the State Treasury not otherwise
128appropriated.
129     Section 4.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.


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