September 22, 2020
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       Florida Senate - 2010                              (NP)    SB 20
       By Senator Baker
       20-00111A-10                                            201020__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of the Estate of Dr. Sherrill
    3         Lynn Aversa; providing an appropriation to compensate
    4         the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa for Dr.
    5         Aversa’s death as result of the negligence of the
    6         Department of Transportation; providing for attorney’s
    7         fees and costs; providing a limitation on the payment
    8         of fees and costs; providing an effective date.
   10         WHEREAS, on June 21, 1999, an employee of the Department of
   11  Transportation was driving a departmental truck northbound on
   12  Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County, Florida, and
   13         WHEREAS, on that same day, Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa, having
   14  completed an interview at the University of South Florida
   15  Medical School, was traveling southbound on Interstate 75, and
   16         WHEREAS, by departmental policy, employees of the
   17  department are required to ensure that all items used by the
   18  department and stored on a truck are appropriately secured to
   19  the truck, and
   20         WHEREAS, one such item used by the department and stored on
   21  the truck was a 12-foot extension ladder stored on the top of
   22  the truck, and
   23         WHEREAS, the department’s employee failed to ensure that
   24  the ladder was secured to the truck before leaving the
   25  department’s maintenance yard, and
   26         WHEREAS, thereafter, while the employee traveled northbound
   27  on Interstate 75, the extension ladder flew from the roof of the
   28  truck into the northbound traffic following the department’s
   29  truck, and
   30         WHEREAS, the driver of the vehicle traveling behind the
   31  department’s truck swerved to avoid hitting the extension
   32  ladder, which was ejected directly at the driver in her lane of
   33  traffic, and
   34         WHEREAS, as a result of the swerving movements, the driver
   35  of the vehicle behind the department’s truck lost control of her
   36  vehicle, veered to the left, crossed the Interstate 75 median,
   37  and struck Dr. Aversa’s vehicle, killing Dr. Aversa instantly,
   38  and
   39         WHEREAS, as a result of these events, the Estate of Dr.
   40  Aversa brought suit against the Department of Transportation for
   41  the negligence causing the death of Dr. Aversa, and
   42         WHEREAS, after 3 years of litigation, the department
   43  admitted liability for the accident and agreed to settle the
   44  case, and
   45         WHEREAS, the parties agreed to a consent judgment solely
   46  against the department, with no finding of comparative
   47  negligence against any other party, in the amount of $797,500,
   48  and
   49         WHEREAS, the Department of Transportation has paid $100,000
   50  to the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa under the statutory
   51  limits of liability set forth in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes,
   54  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   56         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   57  found and declared to be true.
   58         Section 2. The Executive Office of the Governor is directed
   59  to establish spending authority from unappropriated trust fund
   60  balances of the Department of Transportation in the amount of
   61  $697,500 to a new category titled “Relief: Estate of Dr.
   62  Sherrill Lynn Aversa” as compensation to the Estate of Dr.
   63  Sherrill Lynn Aversa for the death of Dr. Aversa, which amount
   64  includes attorney’s fees and costs.
   65         Section 3. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
   66  a warrant in favor of the Estate of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa in
   67  the sum of $697,500 upon funds of the Department of
   68  Transportation not otherwise encumbered, and the Chief Financial
   69  Officer is directed to pay the same out of such funds in the
   70  State Treasury.
   71         Section 4. The amount paid by the Department of
   72  Transportation pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the
   73  amount awarded under this act are intended to provide the sole
   74  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
   75  the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
   76  the death of Dr. Sherrill Lynn Aversa. The total amount paid for
   77  attorney’s fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other similar
   78  expenses relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the
   79  amount awarded under this act.
   80         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

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