Gov. Rick Scott signed nine claims bills into law Thursday, compensating victims of government wrongdoing nearly $40 million.
One of the most high-profile bills will go to the family of Eric Brody, who was permanently and severely injured 14 years ago when a speeding Broward County Sheriff plowed into his car. The Brody family has been travelling to Tallahassee for four years running trying to collect on a multi-million jury award. The claim signed Thursday is worth about $10.75 million.
Most jury awards against government entities or employees--school bus drivers, hospital workers, police officers, and the like--have to be approved by the Legislature if they are in excess of $200,000.
The process has been described as arbtrary and politically-motivated, with lobbyists and lawyers often heavily involved and handsomely compensated. The 2012 session was a big year for claims bills, with 11 making it to the governor's desk. Still, dozens of claims bills never make it through the politically-thorny claims bill process. Here's our story on the world of claims bills.
Scott vetoed one claims bill. Donald Brown, whose lost a leg when his motorcycle was struck by a Sumter County school bus, was slated to receive $1.4 million after lawmakers approved his claims bill. In a letter, Scott said he was acting on advice that the amount exceeds the "proper amount of compensation" for Brown.
Here is a list of the claims bills that passed this year.
HB 445 - Family of Eric Brody. Severely injured after being struck by speeding Broward County Sheriff’s deputy in 1998. ($10.75 million)
HB 141 - William Dillon, a Brevard County man wrongfully jailed for 27 years. ($1.4 million) (signed in early March)
HB 909 - Family of Juan Carlos Rivera. Stabbed to death at Coral Gables Senior High in 2009. ($1.2 million)
HB 965- Aaron Edwards, who suffered severe brain injury during his birth at Lee Memorial Hospital 14 years ago ($15 million).
HB 877 - Odette Acanda, whose son, Ryan, died in Jackson Memorial Hospital in 2005 due to poor health standards ($800,000)
HB 579 – Family of Ana-Yency Velasquez, who was killed by a speeding Miami-Dade police officer in 2009 ($1 million)
HB 1039 - James D. Feurtado, who was struck and injured by a Miami-Dade bus driver in 2009 ($1.2 million)
HB 457 – Parents of Darian Brown, who suffered severe brain damage at birth as a result of substandard car at Broward General Medical Center ($2 million)
HB 967 – Family of Michael Munson, who died from a heart attack in 2008 after Coral Springs Medical Center staff failed to treat him properly ($2.4 million)
HB 7131 – Family of Rachel Hoffman, who died during a botched 2008 drug sting operation by the Tallahassee Police Department ($2.4 million)