Senate Passes HB 6501, Awards Nearly $1M to Disabled Woman
The Florida Senate on Friday voted to pass House Bill 6501, a ‘claims bill’ enacted to make good on a 2012 legal settlement on behalf of a severely disabled woman who was raped while living in a state-licensed group care facility. Attorneys for the woman, who is known only as J.D.S. in court records, obtained a $1.5 million judgement against the five years ago, but the state liability laws cap payments at $200,000.
In order to allow the rape victim to receive the remainder of that settlement, Florida Governor Rick Scott must now sign what is known as a claims bill, authorizing the additional monies in liability payment.
J.D.S., who could not endure a court trial because of mental retardation, autism and cerebral palsy issues, was raped by the co-owner of the group home she was living in almost fourteen years ago. The rapist was 78, and J.D.S. was 22 at the time.
“Claims bills are not 100% guaranteed to pass into law”, notes Fort Myers personal injury and premises liability lawyer Scot D. Goldberg. “There are some who feel they open the way to abuse of the state’s legal system, arbitrarily awarding state money to those who do not deserve it. In this case, I feel the passage of the bill allowing distribution of the remaining liability payments would be doing the right thing on behalf of this victim.”
House Speaker Richard Corcoran was quoted as saying that “J.D.S. was clearly harmed under state care”, and he feels Governor Scott signing the bill would be “another example of righting wrongs.”
No One is Ever REALLY Safe
The practice of premises liability law at Goldberg Noone Abraham, involves protecting the legal rights of a victim who has been injured while under the care of, or on the property of, an entity that did not do all they could to ensure that person’s safety and well-being.
“We recently represented a woman who was physically assaulted in a hotel property, and the management of the property was found to have known about previous problems with a specific tenant at this property”, says attorney Sheba Abraham. “No matter who you are or what specific circumstances you find yourself in, there is never really any way to guarantee your personal and physical safety. If you’re hurt because some person or company was not responsible or negligent, you should be fairly compensated for your injuries.” (You can read more about our client’s settlement here.)
Premises liability and negligent security are two practice area sections of the law firm of Goldberg Noone Abraham, and you can read more information about those topics here.
Whether it’s in a nursing home, assisted living group facility, an apartment complex, commercial hotel or any other type of residential or lodging facility, one should have the reasonable expectation of safety and security. If you or someone you care about has been seriously hurt while living in an unsafe environment, one phone call to 239-461-5508 will allow you to speak to one of our premises liability attorneys, and get answers to your questions.
There is never a charge for consulting with us, and you’ll never pay us a penny unless we are successful in negotiating a favorable settlement or winning a jury verdict on your behalf.
Goldberg Noone Abraham, is a personal injury law firm with principal offices in Fort Myers, Florida. The firm also has offices in Punta Gorda and LaBelle, Florida, and serves injured victims throughout Southwest Florida.