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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

No claims bill for Broward paralyzed man this year

With the Florida legislative session going into overtime Saturday, all bills not related to the budget were withdrawn from consideration -- including the claims bill for Eric Brody, the Broward man paralyzed 13 years ago after a Broward Sheriff's Office cruiser crashed into him.

The Senate had signed off on a bill for Brody to receive $12 million from BSO and its insurance company. And Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti had sent House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, a letter supporting SB 42.

But the House never got around to hearing the bill. And the Brody family, which had spent all day in the state Capitol waiting, did not get good news.

The House went into a recess at midnight without considering the bill for Brody, 31, who was 18 at the time of the accident. Brody, in a wheelchair, took a seat with his parents, Charles and Sharon, in the House visitors' gallery not long after.
 
They sat with their attorney nearby, all wishing for a miracle but beginning to realize it would not come. With the seeming support of the House, they thought this year would be different.
 
"I thought this was the year. Absolutely," Charles Brody said.
 
"It's shame," said attorney Lance Block. "Eric Brody may have gotten caught in the procedural crossfire."
 
Charles Brody felt the same way.
 
This year the family saw the political machinations at play. There were constant retorts, speeches and recesses "instead of doing what has to be done," Charles Brody said. "His future is involved in their politics."
 
Speaking to reporters after the Senate adjourned until 10 a.m., Senate President Mike Haridopolos got teary-eyed expressing his disappointment with the House for not taking up the Brody bill.

--KATIE SANDERS AND PATRICIA MAZZEI

[Last modified: Saturday, May 7, 2011 2:38am]

    

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