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House passes $10.75 million claims bill for Eric Brody

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Mitzi Roden holds her son Aaron Edwards, 14, in the House Visitors gallery. The House passed several claims bills, including a $15 million for Edwards who was permanently injured at birth, allegedly due to malpractice at a Lee County hospital. [Scott Keeler, Times]

A Sunrise man who was paralyzed by a speeding cop 14 years ago is nearly a signature away from receiving a $10.75 million payment from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

The Florida House of Representatives passed a claims bill for Eric Brody, now 32, approving the compensation package more than six years after a jury awarded his family $30.9 million.

The bill, which passed the Senate on the first day of session as a priority of Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R- Merritt Island, will head to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott if the two chambers can agree on an appropriate amount of attorney's fees and costs.

The Senate caps the fees at about $2.7 million, while the House version caps the costs at $400,000.

“It should be enough to take care of him for the rest of his life,” said Chuck Brody, Eric’s father. “That’s the main thing.”

According to Florida law, legislators have to approve certain judgments against government entities in excess of $200,000.

Brody has been wheelchair-bound since 1998, after a speeding Broward County Sheriff’s deputy plowed into the car he was driving, causing severe brain injury. His family has been traveling to Tallahassee for the past four years, trying to collect a $30.9 million jury award. Each year, the Legislature has ended its session without passing a claims bill for Brody.

The bill passed 107-7.

Several other claims bills proposals passed the House on Monday:

Among the proposals that passed: A bill providing relief for the family of Juan Carlos Rivera, who was stabbed to death at Coral Gables Senior High in 2009. The bill would award the family $1.1 million dollars.

Rivera, 17, and classmate Andy Rodriguez were in a schoolyard fight when Rodriguez reached for a knife. Rodriguez was later found guilty of second-degree murder with a weapon, and sentenced to 40 years in prison and 10 years of probation.

Lawyers for Rivera's family claimed the school district was negligent for having left students unsupervised.

The Miami-Dade School Board and the Rivera family agreed to a $1.8 million settlement, $700,000 of which has already been paid out.

The House also passed a bill to authorize $15 million to the family of 14-year-old Aaron Edwards who was permanently injured at birth, allegedly due to malpractice at a Lee County hospital.

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