04/25/2014 // West Palm Beach, Florida, US // JusticeNewsFlash // Justice News Flash // (press release)
Florida – A family whose teenage son was paralyzed from the waist down by a falling city-owned tree is still waiting on settlement funds to pay for his care. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), Jacksonville officials and the parents of then 15-year-old Aubrey Stewart agreed on a $3.5 million settlement following the accident; however, the family says that most of it has yet to be paid, and they are struggling to provide him with needed care.
In accordance with Florida law, claims over $200,000 against the state and certain other entities must have the Legislature’s approval. Florida Senate President Don Gaetz has refused to allow Stewart’s and other claims bills to be heard during his term, stating the system is a broken one.
Gaetz is quoted as stating, “We’ve really not had a process that allowed claims bills to be heard on their merits… Instead it’s been who the lobbyist is, who the sponsor is and how the biscuits were in the majority or minority office that morning.” He has not; however, introduced any related measures for reform.
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is quoted as stating of settlement for Stewart, “It should be paid… We want to make sure that this kid is taken care of for life. He needs to be cared for and $3.5 million is a reasonable settlement to make sure that he’s cared for and I think the Legislature should approve.”
The city had received multiple complaints about the rotting tree prior to it falling on Stewart, who is now 18.
This report is provided by Justice News Flash – Florida Legal News
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