Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 26, 2017 - The family of a Florida State University (FSU) football player will receive the remainder of the settlement amount in a wrongful death case, after Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a claims bill directing the university to make the payment.
Devaughn Darling died in 2001 after he collapsed during a strenuous FSU football training session. The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that the university was negligent in its supervision of the player, who had been diagnosed with sickle cell trait. A $2 million settlement was reached between the family and the university. However, sovereign immunity law prevents state agencies and public entities from paying amounts over certain limits, in this case $200,000. In order for the remainder of the settlement to be paid, a claims bill had to be approved by lawmakers.
“Whenever a family loses a loved one as the result of another’s negligence, they are entitled to seek compensation from the wrongdoer, and that is no less true when the defendant is a government agency,” said Robert Joyce, a wrongful death attorney with the Tampa firm of Joyce & Reyes, who is not involved in the case.
The need for a claims bill meant that the Darling family had to lobby for legislation to be passed in order to receive the payment that the university had agreed to make. The family held a news conference at the Florida State Capitol on February 2, which the Capitol had designated as Florida State University Day. They asked that the claims bill to be approved, as they had been requesting every year since 2005. The family has said that the funds will be used to support a foundation formed in Devaughn’s honor.
Gov. Scott signed the bill June 2, along with 10 other claims bills approving payments in lawsuits against state agencies.
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
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