October 27, 2020
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Senate Bill 0014

Senate Bill sb0014

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
    Florida Senate - 2004        (NP)                        SB 14

    By Senator Clary





    4-7-04

  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to the Department of

  3         Agriculture and Consumer Services; providing

  4         for the relief of Laura Laporte for injuries

  5         she sustained as a result of negligence by an

  6         employee of the department; providing for

  7         attorney's fees and costs; providing an

  8         effective date.

  9  

10         WHEREAS, on October 9, 1999, Sandra Jackson, a grove

11  inspector for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer

12  Services, was driving a four-wheel-drive truck southward on

13  66th Avenue in Indian River County, Florida, a straight

14  two-lane road, and

15         WHEREAS, Ms. Jackson's vehicle pulled into the path of

16  a vehicle driven northward on 66th Avenue by Laura Laporte,

17  causing the vehicles to collide nearly head-on and extensively

18  damaging both vehicles, and

19         WHEREAS, at the time of the accident, Ms. Jackson was

20  acting within the course and scope of her employment, and the

21  Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services admitted

22  liability for the negligent conduct of its employee, and

23         WHEREAS, medical records obtained during the court case

24  filed on behalf of Laura Laporte revealed that Ms. Jackson had

25  opiates and benzodiazepines in her system at the time of the

26  accident and her employment file at the Department of

27  Agriculture and Consumer Services contained evidence that

28  department officials were aware that Ms. Jackson was taking

29  certain prescription medications, including Vicodin, Soma,

30  Xanax, Prozac, and Phenegren, and

31  

                                  1

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.






    Florida Senate - 2004        (NP)                        SB 14
    4-7-04




 1         WHEREAS, the crash severely injured Laura Laporte's

 2  lower extremities and, over the following 2 years, Ms. Laporte

 3  underwent four major orthopedic surgeries to her legs at a

 4  cost in excess of $160,000, and

 5         WHEREAS, notwithstanding surgical intervention, Ms.

 6  Laporte remains in extensive pain, has impaired mobility, and,

 7  according to her physicians, will be permanently impaired, in

 8  spite of anticipated surgery, and

 9         WHEREAS, the cost of future medical expenses and

10  household assistance for Ms. Laporte is anticipated to

11  approach $500,000, and

12         WHEREAS, in addition to the injuries suffered on

13  October 9, 1999, Ms. Laporte suffers from muscular dystrophy,

14  which was diagnosed when she was a teenager and which mainly

15  affects the strength of her upper extremities, and

16         WHEREAS, notwithstanding her physical limitations,

17  before the accident Ms. Laporte was very active as the owner

18  of a mobile petting zoo, operated numerous summer and

19  after-school programs for children, and spent many hours

20  riding horses, and

21         WHEREAS, following the accident, Ms. Laporte is unable

22  to properly care for her animals and requires assistance if

23  she falls, and

24         WHEREAS, on January 10, 2002, a jury returned a verdict

25  awarding $5,582,776.82 in damages to Laura Laporte, and the

26  Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services moved for a

27  remittitur, claiming that the damage award was excessive, and

28         WHEREAS, the trial judge affirmed the jury's decision,

29  and a final judgment in the amount of $5,600,647.81,

30  representing the amount of the verdict plus taxable costs, was

31  signed by the court on May 13, 2002, and

                                  2

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.






    Florida Senate - 2004        (NP)                        SB 14
    4-7-04




 1         WHEREAS, after the Department of Agriculture and

 2  Consumer Services has paid $100,000 pursuant to its obligation

 3  under section 768.28, Florida Statutes, the remaining excess

 4  judgment amount owed will be $5,500,647.81, NOW, THEREFORE,

 5  

 6  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

 7  

 8         Section 1.  The facts stated in the preamble to this

 9  act are found and declared to be true.

10         Section 2.  The sum of $5,500,647.81 is appropriated

11  from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Agriculture

12  and Consumer Services, which amount includes attorney's fees

13  and costs, for the relief of Laura Laporte for injuries and

14  damages sustained.

15         Section 3.  The Chief Financial Officer is directed to

16  draw a warrant in favor of Laura Laporte in the sum of

17  $5,500,647.81 upon funds of the Department of Agriculture and

18  Consumer Services, and the Chief Financial Officer is directed

19  to pay the same out of funds in the State Treasury.

20         Section 4.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a

21  law.

22  

23            *****************************************

24                          SENATE SUMMARY

25    Appropriates funds for the relief of Laura Laporte for
      injuries caused by the negligence of an employee of the
26    Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

27  

28  

29  

30  

31  

                                  3

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.

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