Marc Caputo just tweeted what I was worried would happen.
“Florida Senate adds lobbyist-friendly amendment to a claims bill for Eric Brody, daring House to kill it. The House will likely oblige.”
Senior staffers in both the Florida House and Senate expect Senate President Mike Haridopolos to reject the House’s version of the claims bill for Eric Brody, the Sunrise man who was paralyzed by a speeding cop 14 years ago. The sticking point is the $400,000 cap the House has set on attorney and lobbyist fees. The Senate caps the fees at about $2.7 million.
Because the bill originated in the Senate, the House actually gets the last word on the final language of the bill. Accordingly, the House has one more opportunity to “re-amend” the bill or send it back to the Senate as it is currently written. From there, the Senate can either accept a “re-amended” bill, if that’s what comes over from the House, or a “we’re serious, we’re not amending” version of the bill.
So, the ball is in Mike Haridopolos’ court. Will he budge on the cap awarded to the lawyers and lobbyists? Representting the Brody family are attorney Lance Block and lobbyists Brian Ballard and Michael Corcoran. Block and Corcoran, to their credit, are said to have accepted the $400,000 cap, despite the Brody family’s insistence that Block receive the 25% fee.
“Lance has represented Eric for 14 years as both an attorney and a friend, and he deserves to be compensated at 25 percent — this is what we agreed to from the beginning,” Sharon Brody emailed me to say. “No one has worked harder or been more committed to Eric than Lance and we are so grateful to him.”
Yet the question is will Ballard accept a lesser fee?
Only Mike Haridopolos has that answer.
Well, Haridopolos has answered. No, the lobbyists will not take the lesser fees.