December 01, 2020
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       2010 Legislature                                           SB 54
    2         An act for the relief of Erskin Bell, II, by the City
    3         of Altamonte Springs; providing an appropriation to
    4         compensate him for injuries and damages sustained as
    5         the result of negligence by the City of Altamonte
    6         Springs; providing a limitation on the payment of fees
    7         and costs; providing an effective date.
    9         WHEREAS, in the fall of 2008, Erskin Bell, II, was a 20
   10  year-old college student studying to be an air traffic
   11  controller, and
   12         WHEREAS, on November 30, 2008, Mr. Bell was a passenger in
   13  a 2001 Honda Civic driven by his friend, 18-year-old Jennifer
   14  Hernandez. Returning from a church function, Ms. Hernandez and
   15  Mr. Bell were stopped at a red light at the intersection of
   16  Maitland Boulevard and Bear Lake Road just southwest of
   17  Altamonte Springs, in Orlando. While stopped at the traffic
   18  signal, their vehicle was struck from behind by an Altamonte
   19  Springs police car driven by Officer Mark Edward Maupin, and
   20         WHEREAS, Officer Maupin was traveling at more than 100
   21  miles per hour when he hit the rear of the vehicle occupied by
   22  Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Bell. The force of the resulting wreck was
   23  so severe that it demolished the car occupied by Ms. Hernandez
   24  and Mr. Bell. Mr. Bell was rendered unconscious by the impact
   25  and both Mr. Bell and Ms. Hernandez were airlifted to Orlando
   26  Regional Medical Center. Mr. Bell sustained catastrophic
   27  injuries, including massive skull fractures to his head and
   28  face, intracranial hemorrhaging, massive bilateral brain damage,
   29  and numerous internal injuries. Ms. Hernandez was hospitalized
   30  with a skull fracture. Officer Maupin also suffered a skull
   31  fracture and was taken to Florida Hospital South, and
   32         WHEREAS, Erskin Bell has never regained consciousness and
   33  remains in a coma, requires 24-hour care, and the professional
   34  Life Care Plan estimates that about $30 million will be required
   35  to provide care for Mr. Bell for his remaining life expectancy,
   36  and
   37         WHEREAS, the City of Altamonte Springs entered into a
   38  settlement agreement with Erskin Bell’s father, as guardian for
   39  his son, to pay the $100,000 allowed under s. 768.28, Florida
   40  Statutes, relating to sovereign immunity, and an additional $2
   41  million, which is the limit of the city’s municipal trust
   42  coverage through the Florida League of Cities, to cover the cost
   43  of Mr. Bell’s current and future health care, and
   44         WHEREAS, due to the need to expeditiously establish a
   45  Special Needs Trust to cover those costs, the City of Altamonte
   46  Springs has already paid $1.95 million to establish the Special
   47  Needs Trust, and
   48         WHEREAS, the City of Altamonte Springs has agreed to
   49  support a claim bill by the Legislature in the amount of
   50  $150,000 in favor of Erskin Bell, II, to pay the remainder of
   51  the agreed amount, NOW, THEREFORE,
   53  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   55         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   56  found and declared to be true.
   57         Section 2. The City of Altamonte Springs is directed to
   58  appropriate from funds of the city not otherwise appropriated
   59  and to draw a warrant in the sum of $150,000, payable to the
   60  Special Needs Trust created for the exclusive use and benefit of
   61  Erskin Bell, II, as compensation for injuries and damages
   62  sustained.
   63         Section 3. The amount paid by the City of Altamonte Springs
   64  pursuant to the settlement agreement between Erskin Bell, II,
   65  and the City of Altamonte Springs and the amount awarded under
   66  this act are intended to provide the sole compensation for all
   67  present and future claims against the City of Altamonte Springs
   68  or the City of Altamonte Springs Police Department arising out
   69  of the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
   70  the injuries and damages to Erskin Bell, II. The total amount
   71  paid for attorney’s fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other
   72  similar expenses relating to this claim may not exceed 25
   73  percent of the total amount awarded under this act.
   74         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

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