Florida Senate - 2010 (NP) SB 20
By Senator Baker
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,
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,
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,
52 NOW, THEREFORE,
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.