Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon: Brody case should be settled

Nov 22, 2011

The following article was published in the Florida Current on November 21, 2011:

Cannon:  Brody case should be settled

By Travis Pillow

House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, on Monday said the parents of Eric Brody and Ranger Insurance Co. should work toward settling the high-profile case and that the Legislature should not have to pass a claims bill.

At a luncheon with reporters on Monday, Cannon said that he agreed with remarks made last week by Sen. John Thrasher, R-Orange Park, who called on them to reach an out-of-court settlement. 

“Senator Thrasher’s a very wise man, and that’s good advice,” said Cannon, who technically has not taken a position on the bill, SB 4, which is championed by Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island.  SB 4 cleared the Senate Rules Committee last week and is ready for floor votes early in the session as is a second claims bill, SB 2, filed by Haridopolos for William Dillon. 

Brody was left brain-damaged after a 1998 car accident involving a Broward County sheriff’s deputy. Dillon, meanwhile, was wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years. SB 4 would appropriate $15.5 million for Brody. The counterpart, HB 445, would earmark $30 million for Brody.

Cannon did say on Monday that he is interested in supporting Haridopolos’ priorities but there are members of the House of Representatives who have expressed “philosophical discomfort” with claims bills in general.

The Brody bill is likely to be the subject of a substantial lobbying battle. Representatives of the company that insures the Broward Sheriff’s Office have argued that it would open a door to further “bad faith” litigation. The controversy, and the prospect for further legal wrangling, prompted Thrasher to call on the parties in Brody’s case to reach a settlement.

“This young man needs to be taken care of in an appropriate way, and I don’t know what the appropriate way is, if it’s $15 million or it’s $8.5 million, but reasonable people ought to be able to come together and get this done,” he said.

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