Samples v. Fla. Birth Related Neurological Injury Comp. Ass'nAnnotate this Case
Child was born with birth-related neurological injuries. Child's parents (Petitioners) filed a claim for compensation under the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Plan. The Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association agreed to pay parental compensation of $100,000 to both parents jointly under Fla. Stat. 766.31(1)(b)(1), which provides for an award not exceeding $100,000 to the parents or legal guardians of an infant found to have sustained a birth-related neurological injury. Petitioners reserved the right to have a hearing before an ALJ to raise the issue of the interpretation and constitutionality of section 766.31(1)(b)(1). The ALJ denied Petitioners' claim for an additional $100,000 as part of the parental award, finding that the Legislature clearly intended that the maximum award of $100,000 was for both parents, not for each parent. The district court upheld the ALJ's judgment and denied each of Petitioners' constitutional claims. The Supreme Court approved the district court's decision, holding that the parental award provision (1) unambiguously provides for only a single award of $100,000; (2) does not violate equal protection; and (3) neither is void for vagueness nor unconstitutionally limits the right of access to courts.