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HF 2553

1st Committee Engrossment - 85th Legislature (2007 - 2008) Posted on 12/22/2009 12:38pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to state government; creating a catastrophe survivor compensation
fund; appropriating money; amending Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 13.635,
by adding a subdivision; proposing coding for new law as Minnesota Statutes,
chapter 8A.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

ARTICLE 1

CATASTROPHE SURVIVOR COMPENSATION

Section 1.

new text begin [8A.01] PURPOSE.
new text end

new text begin The purpose of this chapter is to create a structure to provide compensation
to survivors of catastrophes. This chapter applies when the legislature enacts a law
appropriating money for purposes of this chapter.
new text end

Sec. 2.

new text begin [8A.02] DEFINITIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Application. new text end

new text begin The definitions in this section apply to this chapter
unless the context indicates that a different meaning is intended.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Catastrophe. new text end

new text begin "Catastrophe" means an extraordinary event that occurs in
Minnesota that causes widespread damage, injury, or death, in response to which the
legislature appropriates money to be administered under this chapter.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Economic loss. new text end

new text begin "Economic loss" means pecuniary harm resulting from a
catastrophe, and includes loss of earnings, medical expenses, burial costs, property loss,
and loss of business or employment opportunity.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Fund. new text end

new text begin "Fund" means the catastrophe survivor compensation fund created
in section 8A.06.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Loss. new text end

new text begin "Loss" means economic and noneconomic loss resulting from a
catastrophe, less compensation for that catastrophe already provided or to be provided by
another source, as provided in section 8A.03, subdivision 5, paragraph (a). "Loss" does
not include punitive damages. "Loss" does not include fees or costs, including but not
limited to attorney fees and accounting fees, incurred for purposes of making a claim
under this chapter.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Noneconomic loss. new text end

new text begin "Noneconomic loss" means nonpecuniary harm
resulting from a catastrophe, and includes loss for physical and emotional pain and
suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of
enjoyment of life, and loss of society and companionship.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin State and its political subdivisions. new text end

new text begin "State and its political subdivisions"
means: (1) the state of Minnesota, an agency of the state of Minnesota, a statutory or home
rule charter city, a county, a town, a school district, a metropolitan agency, a regional
agency, or any other political subdivision of the state of Minnesota; and (2) any current or
former officer or employee of an entity listed in clause (1) acting in official capacity.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Survivor. new text end

new text begin "Survivor" means a natural person who suffers economic loss or
noneconomic loss resulting from a catastrophe, and includes the personal representative
of a natural person who suffers the loss.
new text end

Sec. 3.

new text begin [8A.03] COMPENSATION.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Administration; special master. new text end

new text begin (a) If the legislature appropriates
money for purposes of compensating survivors of a catastrophe, the executive council
must appoint a special master to administer the fund for the survivors. The executive
council may appoint the special master as an employee in the unclassified state civil
service or may enter into a contract with the special master as an independent contractor.
new text end

new text begin (b) Except as provided otherwise, the special master is subject to laws governing
executive branch agencies. The special master may hire employees, enter into contracts,
adopt rules, and perform other acts necessary to administer the fund. If the special master
hires employees, the employees are in the unclassified state civil service. Rules adopted
by the special master are exempt from chapter 14, but section 14.386 applies to the rules.
The special master and employees and contractors acting under direction of the special
master are immune from liability for any act or omission within the scope of employment
or contractual duties.
new text end

new text begin (c) The special master must report all administrative expenses incurred to the
attorney general at a time and in a manner specified by the attorney general. Total expenses
incurred by the special master, other than payments made to survivors, must not exceed one
percent of the amount the legislature appropriates for purposes of a specific catastrophe.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Filing of claims. new text end

new text begin (a) A survivor may file a claim with the special master
seeking compensation for loss suffered by the survivor. A survivor may not file more than
one claim for a single catastrophe. In appropriating money to the fund, the legislature may
establish an end date for filing a claim under this chapter.
new text end

new text begin (b) The special master must prescribe a claim form. The form must require a
survivor to provide information sufficient for the special master to determine the amount
of loss resulting from the catastrophe and the amount of compensation for the loss the
survivor has received or may receive from another source.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Determination of compensation. new text end

new text begin (a) Within 120 days of the filing of a
claim, the special master shall determine the loss suffered by the survivor filing a claim. In
determining the amount of loss, the special master must not consider negligence or any
other theory of liability for the catastrophe.
new text end

new text begin (b) The special master may propose to compensate a survivor from the fund in an
amount that does not exceed the loss suffered by the survivor. For each catastrophe,
the special master may propose to compensate all survivors of that catastrophe for a
uniform percentage of the loss suffered that is less than the full loss, or may take other
steps the special master considers necessary to ensure that available funds can be equitably
distributed among all survivors who have filed a claim.
new text end

new text begin (c) A determination of the special master under this subdivision is final and is not
subject to judicial review.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Payments. new text end

new text begin (a) Within 20 days of making a determination under subdivision
3, paragraph (b), with respect to a survivor, the special master shall notify the survivor
of the amount the fund proposes to pay to the survivor. If a survivor decides to accept
compensation from the fund, the survivor must do so within 30 days of receiving notice
from the special master under this subdivision. Acceptance must be in writing, in a
manner determined by the special master. A survivor who does not accept compensation
from the fund within 30 days is considered to have rejected compensation from the fund.
The decision to accept or reject compensation from the fund is irrevocable.
new text end

new text begin (b) A survivor who decides to accept compensation from the fund must execute a
written release of all claims against the state and its political subdivisions for any legal
claim or demand of any kind arising out of or relating to the catastrophe. The release must
be in a form prescribed by the special master and shall provide that the survivor releases
the state and its political subdivisions from any liability, including claims for damages
arising from the catastrophe, and cooperate with the state and its political subdivisions
in pursuing claims the state and political subdivisions may have against any other party.
The release shall also provide that the survivor will indemnify the state and its political
subdivisions from any claims of contribution or indemnity or both made by others against
the state and its political subdivisions, and satisfy any judgment obtained by others against
the state and its political subdivisions, if such claims or judgment relate in any way to
the claim of the survivor rising from the catastrophe. The release does not apply to any
claim for damages or other relief from a person or entity other than the state or a political
subdivision of the state. A survivor who previously has filed an administrative, court, or
other action against the state or a political subdivision of the state seeking recovery from
loss resulting from a catastrophe must agree to withdraw the action before receiving
compensation from the fund.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Payments from other sources. new text end

new text begin (a) In determining the loss suffered by a
survivor under this chapter, the special master must offset payments made or to be made
in the future from sources as defined in section 548.36, subdivision 1, that compensate a
survivor for loss or losses as a result of the catastrophe. In determining the loss suffered
by a survivor under this chapter, the special master must also offset any payments made or
to be made by a third-party tortfeasor pursuant to a settlement or other agreement with the
survivor, or a judgment in favor of the survivor, concerning any claim or claims of the
survivor which relate to, involve, or arise out of the catastrophe.
new text end

new text begin (b) Notwithstanding any statutory or common law or agreement to the contrary, a
person or entity required to make payments to a survivor may not eliminate or reduce
those payments as a result of compensation paid to the survivor under this chapter or as
a result of the survivor's release of claims against the state and its political subdivisions
under this chapter. No person or entity, having paid benefits or compensation to or on
behalf of a survivor, has any right of recovery, through subrogation or otherwise, against
the fund or with respect to any compensation paid by the fund.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin State right of subrogation. new text end

new text begin Notwithstanding any statutory or common law
to the contrary, the state is subrogated to all potential claims against third party tortfeasors
of any survivor receiving compensation from the fund to the extent the claims relate to,
involve, or arise out of the catastrophe. The state's subrogation right shall be limited to the
amount paid to the survivor from the fund. The state shall be entitled to be reimbursed
regardless of whether the survivor is fully compensated.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Third party reimbursement of the state. new text end

new text begin Notwithstanding any statutory
or common law to the contrary, the state shall be entitled to recover from any third party,
including an agent, contractor, or vendor retained by the state, for payments made from
the fund to the extent such third party caused the catastrophe.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Attorney fee limit. new text end

new text begin An attorney representing a survivor with respect to a
claim filed with the special master must not charge the survivor a fee.
new text end

Sec. 4.

new text begin [8A.04] DATA PRACTICES.
new text end

new text begin The following data on individuals collected because a person files a claim for
compensation under this chapter is public: name, amount of compensation paid under
this chapter, and a release signed under section 8A.03, subdivision 4. All other data on
individuals collected because a person files a claim under this section is private data on
individuals as defined in section 13.02, subdivision 12.
new text end

Sec. 5.

new text begin [8A.05] EFFECT ON STATE TORT LIABILITY.
new text end

new text begin (a) An offer to make a payment or any payment made under this chapter is not an
admission in any way of liability of the state or a political subdivision of the state and is
not admissible in any administrative or judicial action to establish this liability.
new text end

new text begin (b) The special master shall determine a survivor's loss and make payments to
survivors under this chapter without reference to state tort liability limits in section 3.736,
subdivision 4.
new text end

Sec. 6.

new text begin [8A.06] FUND.
new text end

new text begin (a) The catastrophe survivor compensation fund is created as a fund in the state
treasury. The fund consists of money appropriated to the fund by law, gift, and other
revenue deposited in the fund.
new text end

new text begin (b) The special master may accept gifts, grants, and other donations for purposes
of this chapter. These gifts, grants, and donations are accepted on behalf of the state and
constitute donations to the state of Minnesota.
new text end

new text begin (c) Money in the fund is appropriated to the special master for the purposes of
this chapter, including payments made to survivors and costs and expenses incurred in
the administration of this chapter.
new text end

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 13.635, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Catastrophe survivor compensation fund. new text end

new text begin Data collected for the
purposes of administering the catastrophe survivor compensation fund are classified
pursuant to section 8A.04.
new text end

Sec. 8. new text beginEFFECTIVE DATE.
new text end

new text begin This article is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

ARTICLE 2

I-35W BRIDGE COLLAPSE SURVIVOR COMPENSATION

Section 1. new text beginPURPOSE.
new text end

new text begin The legislature finds and declares that the collapse of the I-35W bridge on August 1,
2007, constitutes a catastrophe under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 8A, and that the state
should provide compensation to the survivors of the catastrophe.
new text end

Sec. 2. new text beginPROCEDURES FOR I-35W CATASTROPHE.
new text end

new text begin (a) The executive council must appoint a special master no later than 30 days after
the effective date of this article to administer this article.
new text end

new text begin (b) Minnesota Statutes, chapter 8A, governs payments made with money
appropriated in this article.
new text end

new text begin (c) For purposes of this appropriation, "survivor" has the meaning given in
Minnesota Statutes, chapter 8A, but means only a survivor who was on the I-35W bridge
when it collapsed or a survivor who is the personal representative of a person who was on
the I-35W bridge when it collapsed.
new text end

new text begin (d) A survivor seeking compensation under this article must file a claim with the
special master by ....... 2008.
new text end

new text begin (e) Minnesota Statutes, section 8A.03, subdivision 5, does not prevent a survivor
who has received emergency relief funding of up to $10,000 based on lost wages due
to physical injury or death from filing a claim for additional compensation from the
catastrophe victim compensation fund. However, the amount of emergency relief payment
received must be offset from the amount the survivor otherwise would receive from the
fund.
new text end

Sec. 3. new text beginAPPROPRIATIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Compensation to survivors. new text end

new text begin $....... is appropriated from the general
fund for deposit in the catastrophe survivor compensation fund to provide compensation
to survivors of the I-35W bridge collapse, and to pay administrative costs associated
with determining and providing this compensation. No more than one percent of this
appropriation may be spent for a purpose other than making payments to survivors. This
appropriation is available until spent.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Grant. new text end

new text begin $750,000 is appropriated from the general fund for the fiscal year
ending June 30, 2008, to the commissioner of administration for a grant to Waite House
in Minneapolis to provide comprehensive services to youth and family of youth who
were on a school bus on the I-35W bridge when the bridge collapsed. This appropriation
is available until spent.
new text end

Sec. 4. new text beginPAYMENTS PROHIBITED.
new text end

new text begin After the effective date of this article, the commissioner of administration may
not accept new applications for payments to be made to provide emergency relief to
survivors of the I-35W bridge catastrophe based on lost wages due to physical injury or
death. The commissioner may process an application for payment if the application was
received before the effective date of this article.
new text end

Sec. 5. new text beginEFFECTIVE DATE.
new text end

new text begin This article is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end