Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - September 24, 2013
REVISED September 24, 2013 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #15

Authorize the Settlement of Victoria Diaz v. Manatee County; Case No. 2012-CA-7204


Contact and/or Presenter Information
James A. Minix, Chief Assistant County Attorney
Jo Ann Grace, Legal Assistant, Ext. 3750

Action Requested
Motion to approve settlement between Victoria Diaz and Manatee County.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Sections 125.01 and 768.28, Florida Statutes.

Background Discussion

   This involves a motor vehicle accident which occurred on April 19, 2010 on 1st Street in Bradenton where a Manatee County Sheriff's Office employee, Maria Cavazos, rear-ended Plaintiff Victoria Diaz's vehicle at a speed of approximately 25 mph. Plaintiff's vehicle was stopped behind a car that was turning into a car dealership off of 1st Street when the Sheriff's Office employee hit the Plaintiff from behind. The impact caused damages of $2,003.62 to the Plaintiff's vehicle and no injuries were reported at the scene. The settlement is for the total amount of $35,000 for all claims from Victoria Diaz and her minor child, Juan Carranza.

   On April 21, 2010, Plaintiff visited Physicians Group, LLC complaining of dizziness, neck and back pain, headaches, shoulder pain, numbness and tingling in the left arm and hand, as well as other issues. Plaintiff's medical records indicate that injuries sustained and expenses incurred total  estimated medical bills of $15,446.90. The Plaintiff's initial demand for relief came in June 2011 for the amount of $100,000. Medical records and doctors have indicated that Plaintiff may need  neck and left shoulder surgery in the future which may cost between $85,000-$95,000. Plaintiff was assigned an 11% permanent impairment rating for her injuries which were estimated to be between $1,000-$2,000/year for future medical treatment.

   The County Attorney's Office believes this settlement offer of $35,000 is a benefit/savings to the County and should be approved since: (1) there is clear liability on the part of the Sheriff's Office employee; (2) the accident was a particularly hard (25 mph) impact to Plaintiff's stopped vehicle; (3) medical records and doctor testimony indicate potential damages at a jury trial between $50,000-$75,000; (4) the settlement amount of $35,000 includes $5,000 to settle a claim for potential damages against Manatee County by the Plaintiff's minor child, Juan Carranza, who was in the car at the time of the accident and who currently has a claim pending with the Risk Management Division; and (5) the County Attorney's Office believes that if this matter went before a jury, that it would likely find in Plaintiff's favor with total damages exceeding the settlement amount.

   Therefore, the County Attorney's Office recommends approval of the above settlement offer.

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other

See attached settlement proposal from Plaintiff's counsel, Gregory S. Hagopian, dated August 21, 2013, Settlement Agreement, HIPAA Authorization, and Release.

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records

Please return a fully executed of this agenda memo and any attachments electronically to joann.grace@mymanatee.org.
Thank you.


Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs
One-time payment.

Attachment:  Minix.confirm settlement.pdf
Attachment:  settlement agreement.pdf
Attachment:  med auth.pdf
Attachment:  release.pdf