Claims Subcommittee of the Joint Budget Committee

February 15, 2023

Sen Sullivan: This meeting is called to order. Ms. Irby, you’re at the table, if you’ll go ahead and introduce yourself we’ll begin.

Irby (CC): Yes sir. My name is Kathryn Irby. I’m the Director of the Claims Commission.

Sen Sullivan: And we’ll first consider the claims concerning the reissuance of warrants in Section B. Ms. Desikan, go ahead.

BLR Staff: The first claim is claim number 230301, American Air Liquid Holdings, Incorporated, versus Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Corporate Income Tax Section. Here claimant requested reissuance of an outdated warrant in the amount of $188,689 payable from the Department of Finance and Administration. The warrant is still outstanding, and no duplicate has been issued. The Claims Commission unanimously allowed the claim and referred it for review and placement on an appropriation bill.

Sen Sullivan: Ms. Irby, does the Commission have anything to add?

Irby (CC): No, sir, but I’m happy to take any questions.

Sen Sullivan: Members, anyone have questions? Representative Springer, you’re recognized. 

Rep Springer: Thank you. Good morning. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Did we ever find out, did this warrant ever leave the office to get to this place?

Irby (CC): So the Claims Commission doesn’t originally send out the warrants. What we get is a notification from the agency when the warrant is out of date. And when they want us to reissue it they send us a request to start the reissuance process.

Rep Springer: Did the Department investigate– follow-up, Mr. Chair?

Sen Sullivan: Yes, you’re recognized.

Rep Springer: Did they ever investigate to determine whether or not the warrant ever left the Department?

Irby (CC): So that’s not part of what came over to the Claims Commission. So I’m not able to answer your question, I’m sorry.

Sen Sullivan: Any further questions?

Rep Springer: I’m just trying to figure out how a $188,000 check gets lost.

Irby (CC): We see a lot of reissuances, ma’am. How it doesn’t get deposited or how it doesn’t arrive in the time period, I can’t speak to you on each one but I know we saw one several years ago for about $900,000 that the claimant said had been stuck into a drawer accidentally.

Sen Sullivan: Any further questions? I’m sorry.

Rep Springer: Yes, sir, I was just thinking maybe is this something that Legislative Audit can look into. I mean, a $188,000 check, that’s a lot of money. Thank you.

Sen Sullivan: Ms. Irby, you don’t track the checks do we? I mean, that would have to go to Leg Audit.

Irby (CC): So we do check with the Auditor of State when we receive a reissuance request. We do a double check with the Auditor of State to confirm that the warrant is in fact out of date and that it hasn’t been cashed or anything. But we don’t deal with Leg Audit with relation to reissuances. Does that answer your question?

Sen Sullivan: I think to the best of your knowledge, yes. Representative Springer, would you like for us to get with Leg Audit and see if we can find the response to that?

Rep Springer: Thank you.

Sen Sullivan: Okay, thank you. Can we make a note of that, please? Make sure we get the Leg Audit. Members, it’s my understanding that if a check is lost that’s why they come to the Commission, and the Commission hears the evidence as to– I don’t know that you get into how it was lost but the fact is it was lost.

Irby (CC): That that’s correct, sir. The how it was lost doesn’t impact the Commission’s decision whether–

Sen Sullivan: Yes, we just have an obligation to pay. And if we didn’t pay then. But we’ll get with Leg Audit and find that response out. Senator Wallace, you have a question?

Sen Wallace: Sir, I do. Was the original check, I’m assuming it was canceled, does it not work that way?

Irby (CC): It was not cashed within the time of it’s– while it was a viable check. In the 180 days, I believe it is. That if it doesn’t get cashed or deposited in that 180 days, then it can’t be deposited after that. And then in the process of reissuing that, yes the old check if it does turn up somewhere can’t then be deposited and cashed. Does that answer your question?

Sen Wallace: Well, yeah, I was thinking about it going through a bank but we issue our own checks and we don’t go through a bank to issue the checks, is that correct?

Irby (CC): DFA issues the checks for the Claims Commission. When we reissue checks DFA issues those for us.

Sen Wallace: Okay, because if we went to a bank if a check is canceled, it’s a done deal.

Sen Sullivan: Yeah, members, I think the Commission, a lot of those questions go to the Commission but it’s not up to – my understanding is it’s not up to the state to figure out why or how because there could be a myriad of reasons that a check is lost or unaccounted for. We’re only responsible for making sure that claim is paid. And if the claimant is in error or negligent and why they lost it or how they lost it. I understand that, I do the same thing sometimes but they’re we’re responsible for paying it.

Irby (CC): In this particular one, sir.

Sen Wallace: Representative Springer, you’re recognized.

Rep Springer: Oh, thank you, Mr. Chair. I’m just curious as to how that would happen in the first place. Seems like to me if we were responsible and honoring our fiduciary duties, then checks like that shouldn’t get lost in the first place.

Sen Sullivan: Well, I agree. My wife often asks me that same question. How did you lose that check? But I think our obligation is to pay that. Members, any more questions? Do I have a motion to approve this item? And a second? Second. All in favor aye. Opposed. Now let’s move to item B 2.

BLR Staff: This is claim number 221210, Rocket Software Incorporated versus Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Corporate Income Tax Section. Claimant requested reissuance of an outdated warrant in the amount of $52,578 payable from the Department of Finance and Administration. The warrant is still outstanding, and no duplicate has been issued. The Claims Commission unanimously allowed the claim and referred it for review and placement on an appropriation bill.

Sen Sullivan: Any questions? Representative Eubanks, you’re recognized.

Rep Eubanks: Motion to reissue both the remaining warrants.

Sen Sullivan: I’m sorry I didn’t go– I think Ms. Irby, do you have a– I apologize, Ms. Irby, do you have a question or statement?

Irby (CC): I was just turning it off. Apologies.

Sen Sullivan: All right. And we have a motion to reissue the check, is that the recommendation of the Commission?

Irby (CC): Yes, sir.

Sen Sullivan: Yes, second on that motion? Second. All in favor? Any more questions? Seeing no questions, all in favor say aye. Anyone opposed? Let’s move to item 3.

BLR Staff: This is claim number 230421, SG Gaming Incorporated versus Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Claimant requested reissuance of an outdated warrant in the amount of $27,191.09, payable from DFA. The warrant is still outstanding and no duplicate has been issued. The Claims Commission unanimously allowed the claim and referred it for review and placement on an appropriation bill.

Sen Sullivan: They have a new screen up here. I’m trying to figure out what the greens and reds mean. So I apologize. Ms. Irby, do you have any comments?

Irby (CC): No, sir. Not at this time. I’m happy to take any questions though.

Sen Sullivan: Representative Shepherd, do you have a question?

Rep Shepherd: Well, a motion but I also have a question. When these warrants are reissued, I understand that they are stale but are there steps taken to either void the previous warrant or to monitor the warrants that are still out there? Just because they’re past time doesn’t mean that– and I don’t know how these are deposited with the state but out in the private sector just because a check is past time doesn’t necessarily mean that a bank wouldn’t go ahead and deposit it or endorse it, receive it. So that was my question. I’d have a motion to go ahead and reissue the warrant on this one as well.

Irby (CC): Representative Shepherd, I feel – or Speaker Shepherd, I apologize – I feel confident that that is part of the DFA process but I want to speak to it very specifically and accurately and what I’d like to do is check with DFA to make sure I understand the process exactly. And I can email or get that information to you is that? Thank you, sir.

Sen Sullivan: We have any more questions? Representative Springer, you have a question?

Rep Springer: Thank you, a comment basically. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, Speaker Shepherd, for your comments. I totally agree that there needs to be some type of checks and balances for outstanding warrants like this. And so that’s why I suggested that maybe Leg Audit needs to take a look at this. Thank you.

Sen Sullivan: Yes, I agree. We’ll have that done. Ms. Irby, do you have any further comments?

Irby (CC): No, sir.

Sen Sullivan: And seeing no questions, we have a motion to issue the warrant. We have a second? All in favor say aye. All opposed. Seeing none, this motion is approved. Move to Section 3 or B 3. We now have claims that were referred pursuant to Arkansas Code Section 19-10-215(b), and we’re in Section (c). Ms. Desikan, would you begin?

BLR Staff: The first claim is claim number 200809, Debbie Brown as Administratrix of the Estate of Chris Brown, and Joe Brown, versus the Arkansas Department of Transportation. Here claimants sought $2 million in damages related to the death of Chris Brown in a single-vehicle rollover accident on Highway 316 North. Claimants allege that the accident occurred because the highway was flooded due to issues with the ditch next to the roadway. Claimants argued that decedent’s death was the result of negligent construction and maintenance of the State Highway. Claimants further argued that ARDOT was aware that this area was routinely flooded by way of complaints received prior to the incident, and yet had done nothing to remedy or address the reported complaints of the flooding concerns. ARDOT denied liability.

Following discovery in a hearing, the Claims Commission found ARDOT liable and awarded claimants a total of $1,992,838.77; which was comprised of $1,537,838.77 to the decedent’s estate for loss of life, funeral expenses, burial costs, and headstone. $390,000 to decedents parents for mental anguish experienced after decedent’s death; and $65,000 to decedent’s 2 siblings for mental anguish. Neither party appealed the Claims Commission’s decision. The Commission transmitted the claim for review, approval, and placement on an appropriation bill.

Sen Sullivan: Ms. Irby, do you have any comment?

Irby (CC): No, sir but I’m happy to take any questions.

Sen Sullivan: Members, does anyone have any questions? Representative Shepherd, you’re recognized.

Rep Shepherd: So the question I would have related to this, I guess I have a number of questions but one would be, how many claims has the state in recent years paid related to flooding of a state highway or improper construction or maintenance of a state highway?

Irby (CC): I would have to go back and check Claims Commission records in a set amount of time. I’m unaware of another claim like this.

Rep Shepherd: And I see that there were some other factors that were weighed by the Commission and I don’t know if the claimant’s attorney is here. if someone would like to shed some more light on this. But I guess my concern, while it’s obviously a tragic situation, in trying to be consistent in terms of how claims move forward against the State in the future, or what’s happened in the past. I guess I’m concerned that this is a vast expansion of liability on behalf of the state if the state is now responsible for accidents of flooded roadways. And so I don’t know if there are other factors at play. I’ve read the summary related to prior knowledge, but I guess I would like a little more information as to that particular position.

Irby (CC): Yes, sir. I believe the Commission based on the way the order is drafted, I believe the Commission placed a lot of weight on the extensive testimony of witnesses who had known about the flooding problem for years and who had contacted or who testified that they had contacted ARDOT in various methods to notify them of the flooding. And I know that the Commission discussed that in paragraph 180 of the order. And then in 181, I know that the Commission referenced 181 and elsewhere. That the Commission referenced the fact that respondent’s employees testified that they had traveled these roads in a set schedule and that they were not aware of the flooding problem or that that was their testimony. And given the amount of testimony of other witnesses to the contrary, the Commission found that very significant.

Sen Sullivan: Yes. Well, I think I hit you off. Would you hit your button? Oh, never mind, I got it. Go ahead.

Rep Shepherd: The order also references a few factors. The decedent was not wearing a seatbelt at the time. The Commission also noted decedent’s familiarity with the roadway and the condition of the decedent’s rear tires were factors in the accident. Can you speak to familiarity? I don’t know by this, was the decedent familiar with the roadway or unfamiliar? And then secondly, can you share with us related to the rear tires, how was that a factor in this accident?

Irby (CC): Well, when the accident happened, the decedent was traveling to a friend of his that presumably he– I think there was testimony he had been out there before. And so that’s where the familiarity with that roadway came from. And the tires, I think there was an issue with the tire tread, that the tires were– there was less tread on there than ideal.

Sen Sullivan: Any further questions, Representative? Go ahead.

Rep Shepherd: I guess I would like to hear from the claimant’s attorneys if possible, just to hear more as to their position on it. But I appreciate the answers provided by Ms. Irby.

Sen Sullivan: Yeah, is the claimant’s attorney available? If you would come to the front, please? If you would please introduce yourself?

Lacy: My name is Brandon Lacy, attorney for the Brown estate. Good morning.

Sen Sullivan: And then, Representative Shepherd, if you? Thank you.

Rep Shepherd: Good morning, Mr. Lacy. I guess I just have a question, a concern about that this would be an expansion of liability by the state related to our highways, which we have a significant number of miles of highways across the state. While I think the department does everything they possibly can to try to create safe conditions, I guess one concern I have from the standpoint of this – and I don’t know all the facts, that’s why I would like to hear from you. But specifically, with a flooded roadway, could you share with us, was this during the day, was this at night? What speed was the decedent traveling?

I mean, you can imagine from our perspective there would be a number of questions that we would have because of the nature of this incident. I mean, we have plenty of claims that relate to where a state vehicle’s involved, where there’s clearly some element of negligence. This is different and I just would like to hear more about why the State is more at fault here and should be on the hook for these damages. So I’d appreciate you elaborating on that. Thank you.

Lacy: Certainly understand, Mr. Speaker, the concern. And this incident occurred in Phillips County where it’s flat, lots of rain, lots of flooding. So we understood at the outset that there was a significant hurdle in arguing that there was some issue with the road flooding. The reason that we believed it to be a viable case was because the manner of the flooding and the evidence that the problem was overwhelming and the fact that nothing had been done in the years leading up to it was likewise overwhelming.

In fact, the evidence was that the Highway Department actually created the problem, not that this was just a road on flat land that flooded and they knew about it and should have done something about it. It was actually that their work to the ditch to the north stopped at an intersection of county road that we’re talking about Highway 361 north to south. There was a county road that ran east to west and intersected county road, I believe 216.

And I believe 3 to 4 years before this wreck the Highway Department had they call it mopping out, cleaning out the ditch to the north of that intersection, just basically re-established the ditch line because over time, obviously, sediment, debris, flood and erosion happens and there’s no longer a ditch. So they cleaned it out and then stopped at the intersection. That created a bottleneck to where all the water– and the water flowed north to south, that was the elevation. So it created a bottleneck to where the water just essentially had nowhere to go. It was going from an entire quadrant of acreage to the north, flooding into this one spot, stopping, and then overtopping the road.

On the evening in question, the NOAA – I believe that’s the correct acronym – but the weather service that maintains rain records had established a rainfall amount of 0.02 inches of rain. A very insignificant amount of rain. It had started misting at the time Chris Brown left a fish fry for the volunteer firefighters – he was a volunteer firefighter in Phillips County. They’d been eating outside – the fish fry was outside. So it wasn’t a torrential downpour. He left, the testimony from his father was that it may have been misting at that point.

And then 0.02 inches of rain leads to at least 3 inches of flooding because we had an over-the-top event. The entire road was submerged in water after 0.02 inches of rain. Because there was so much accumulated water the ditches were already overtopping. And so any amount of rain at that point is going to send the road flooding. So you’ve got 3 inches of rain over the road, completely over the center line. That’s how you know it’s 3 inches because from center to shoulder is a 2-and-a-half-inch pitch.

Police officers testified water was over their ankles while they’re working the scene. So it’s the egregiousness of the event that when coupled with the fact that not only did the Highway   Department’s actions there lead to creation of the problem, we had a landowner that owned the land adjacent to the incident right where the water was flooding, testified to the Highway Department’s removal of all of his shrubs. He had actually planted– he’d owned that land generationally, and testified to his family planting trees along the edge because he wanted to make sure to prevent erosion from his field. I think he had a – I may misspeak – there’s a pecan grove or something at one point to the right, and he wanted to eliminate erosion from his field onto that ditch so he planted all of these trees and vegetation. At some point, the highway department came and cut that all down and never replaced it.

So you’ve got a full ditch bringing all of the water for who knows how many acres to the north to this one spot and stopping. You have no vegetation preventing any water coming off from the adjacent land, which leads to 0.02 inches of rain completely flooding this road. Then regardless of whether they created it or whether it was just man-made over time events that caused the problem, you have the knowledge issue. And obviously, the family testified that there was knowledge.

And as Chris’s knowledge of the road, he drove it a couple of times. I think the reason it was in the order was because the Commission was pointing out the inconsistency of one of the department’s defenses that he drove it all the time, he should have known it floods. He should have taken better care to slow down, versus their own witness’s testimony that I drove it all the time and I never saw it flood. So I think the Commission was saying pick which story you want to go with but you can’t have it both ways. But Chris had driven it a couple of times but there’s no testimony that he knew it flooded, that there was any– that he’d driven it previously when it was completely submerged underwater.

But then we have these independent witnesses, who they’re not family members, they’re not friends, they’re not experts or hired guns paid by any side to show up and testify. One of them drove from Helena to this hearing. They’re beyond my subpoena power but they voluntarily came because they thought it was the right thing to do. Testifying to – because she lived in that area and she had to drive across it every day. And she had a video that she had taken, and the video was taken before the Chris Brown incident, where she’s essentially stranded at that intersection and can’t go anywhere because she’s stuck. And she said this is what happens to our road every time it rains. And she testified that she actually wrote a letter to the Highway Department complaining about the flooding and they did nothing about it. All of that was before Chris Brown died.

A school bus driver who drove children to school testified that she’d complained. She called the highway department and complained about the flooding in that area. She didn’t feel safe taking a bus with children to school on that road. The Highway Department didn’t do anything about it. The neighbors all complained that anytime they saw somebody working they would pull over and complain about the flooding along that road. And the Highway Department didn’t do anything about it. So that’s the evidence that led to the Commission determining ultimately that the highway department violated its responsibility.

And I realize it’s a unique situation but we litigated this case from, I believe the wreck was February 2019, we litigated it throughout COVID, throughout 2020, throughout 2021. The Memphis bridge was a big issue while we were litigating this, and I think we all know sort of the same arguments were made then, this has never happened before. We’ve inspected this before, and never seen it before. Well, that doesn’t eliminate responsibility for it. The bridge was cracked, and thank goodness it was discovered before someone died. This one, it was discovered and reported and complained about but it wasn’t fixed before someone died.

Sen Sullivan: Thank you. Is there anyone here from the Highway Department? There is? If you could come forward, please? Representative Shepherd, I’ll come back to you, I just wanted to hear from the Highway Department first. If you would introduce yourself, please?

Andrews ARDOT: Good morning, Amanda Andrews, staff attorney with the Department of Transportation.


Andrews (ARDOT): Good morning, Amanda Andrews, staff attorney with the Department of Transportation.

Sen Sullivan: Thank you. There may be other questions, I have one. So is there anything here that you disagree with that the attorney just spoke to?

Andrews (ARDOT): Respectfully, the Department disagrees with a number of statements that were made. This was a contested hearing and the order is significant in detail, however, we take a different view of the evidence.

Sen Sullivan: Okay, let me ask a little bit different question. So are there any – he rehearsed several facts, do you dispute the water levels? I mean, he talked about ankle-deep with the police and 0.02 inches of rain. Is there anything you disagree with as far as the water levels?

Andrews (ARDOT): I believe the evidence showed that the rain event was more significant than has been represented. And the water levels on the road that night, we have video from the accident scene but no one from the Department was aware that the accident happened so went out and actually took measurements. So really all that we can say as to the water is our videos from the night or photographs from the night, and no member of the emergency personnel testified as to the water level.

Sen Sullivan: So do you disagree with the number of reports that were made that there are multiple reports from various people about problems in the area?

Andrews (ARDOT): Yes, sir. We disagree with that. We did an extensive review of our records from that district office, and there was no record. And our staff does keep a record of reports and complaints, and we found no record during our extensive review that a report about that road had been made.

Sen Sullivan: Okay, so the fact that you don’t have records, since you don’t keep those records, is really almost a moot point. If people are reporting it and your staff are not reporting it to you and you’re not keeping records, is that what I heard you say?

Andrews (ARDOT): No, sir. I’m sorry, we do keep records. The districts have various maintenance offices in the individual towns, and they do keep records.

Sen Sullivan: Okay. And you have no record of any complaints on that area?

Andrews (ARDOT): No, sir.

Sen Sullivan: Okay. All right, Representative Shepherd, I’m going to come back to you one more time, and then we’re going to– we got a lot of questions there. Go ahead.

Rep Shepherd: Well, I have one question, and some other questions of the claimant’s attorney. So you can come back to me later. But just for clarity, this is a request for appropriation of the award. My understanding is the Department did not appeal the decision of the Claims Commission to this Committee or to the Claims Committee of ALC. And so am I correct about that?

Andrews (ARDOT): That’s correct. The decision was made to not appeal.

Rep Shepherd: Okay. And then, Mr. Chair, I do have a few other questions but I’ll wait till the end but I wanted to go back to that.

Sen Sullivan: Click back in later, thank you. Representative Collins, you’re next.

Rep Collins: Thank you. I think this is a question of the Chair. What’s our standard of review here, are we looking at these decisions for clear error or how much are we supposed to be digging in here on these?

Sen Sullivan: Yes, Ms. Desikan, I’ll let her respond to that.

BLR Staff: Representative Collins, this particular decision was transmitted for review, approval, and then placement on an appropriation bill, and that’s all.

Rep Collins: Okay, so review and approval, and no further guidance as far as– and that’s fine if that’s what it is.

Sen Sullivan: Does that answer your question?

Rep Collins: It does, I think. Thank you.

Sen Sullivan: And Representative McElroy, you have a question?

Rep Jean: Jean in McElroy’s seat.

Sen Sullivan: Then Representative Jean, go right ahead.

Rep Jean: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Sen Sullivan: I can’t read your nameplate on there that far.

Rep Jean: Well, it’s not on there. I got a question for the attorney for the Highway Department. I’m looking here and it says y’all denied any liability. And I’m wondering during the Claims Committee or the Claims Commission, did the Highway Department ever try to get to a lower settlement, or are were y’all flatly denying any liability at all?

Andrews (ARDOT): No, we did not have settlement discussions after I got involved in the case. Or I believe there might have been a very brief, maybe one email that I received. I got into the case very late, about 2 months before the hearing.

Rep Jean: Okay, and if I could have a follow-up?

Sen Sullivan: Yes.

Rep Jean: And what was y’alls reasoning for not appealing this decision? Most people if they adamantly think this is the wrong thing to do, most departments will appeal a decision. Why did y’all not do that?

Andrews (ARDOT): That decision was outside the scope of my decision making.

Rep Jean: I understand that but you don’t have any knowledge why?

Andrews (ARDOT): No.

Rep Jean: Okay, thank you.

Sen Sullivan: And Senator Johnson.

Sen M Johnson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I read this thing twice last night. I read the entire 38 pages or whatever from the Claims Commission. And I apologize, Mr. Chairman, because of traffic I was a little bit late but I think I’ve heard most of the testimony so far. There were numerous people, including ARDOT employees and neighbors of the location along the highway that talked about how the complaints had been made to the district office of ARDOT.

Ma’am, lady from the Highway Department, do y’all dispute the things that these neighbors and other people stated about having made phone calls or whatever? It seems that again reading this final report and order from the Claims Commission, that there were – I’m going to paraphrase it – complaints made orally, phone calls, whatever but that didn’t necessarily filter up to the top. And I’m not picking on anybody, I’m just trying to establish do you dispute those facts that they didn’t filter up to the top?

Andrews (ARDOT): That’s actually a very good and interesting question, in that those at the top don’t handle these issues. These matters are handled at the individual maintenance office level. And our records, we do not have any records that these complaints were made.

Sen M Johnson: So then you dispute that they were made because there’s– I’m not saying that it’s got to come to Little Rock to be reviewed, I’m talking about at the maybe the district engineer and his or her staff level, was that the case here? Because here you’ve got several citizens saying hey, we all complained, we’ve made a phone call, we talked to someone. In some cases, they could say who it was and others they weren’t so sure. Like anyone calling an agency, I couldn’t tell you the people I’ve talked to in every agency, and I talk to a lot of them.

But the point I’m trying to get at is, it appears from the record that ARDOT knew about this problem at some level and it was very clear in the record. Are you familiar with the function 441 and 442 on maintenance? These are basically the standard operating procedures that I understand are set maybe nationally or by Federal Highway Administration of how you’re supposed to maintain certain roads. And it appears from all this that they just really weren’t met. So if you’re not following your own rules, and someone brought up the issue of the bridge with the crack in the bridge that someone missed that too. I mean, obviously, a much bigger thing but thank the Lord no one lost a life on that. But this is a case where the functions, the standard operating procedure even outlined by the federal government, wasn’t followed, and ultimately, someone died.

Now, I’ll remind the Committee that this Mr. Brown was deemed to have done I believe what, 32% or some figure like that of the actual percentage of blame, and the remainder back to ARDOT. So it’s not like he was without any involvement, any blame at all. And it’s been stipulated by all parties, correct me if I’m wrong, that he did not have his seat belt on, and that’s fine. And again, I just want to establish that ARDOT knew about this situation at some level, whether it got to the person that was the one that could truly make a decision to do the proper maintenance on this section of road. I won’t even try to get that answer today. But the fact is, the testimony of several people, unrelated people, had no dog in the fight, so to speak, were pointing out there’s been this problem over and over again and we tried to tell them. And so does the department dispute that fact?

Andrews (ARDOT): Does the department dispute that people complained or that ARDOT knew?

Sen M Johnson: Well, I guess there’s a disconnect if people complained and ARDOT didn’t know of their complaint. But in this case, I’m just saying do you dispute that there were complaints made at – I’m going to say the district level – again as you said, it wouldn’t normally filter up to the top and should be handled at the local office level. But do you dispute that happened? Again, and Mr. Chairman, I’m not trying to retry the facts here because clearly, our responsibility is about awarding this money, not trying to play appellate court to the Claims Commission. I just want to establish a few things before we have to make a decision on that, if I could.

Sen Sullivan: Thank you, Senator. And our job, they’ve already had their day in court with the Commission.

Sen M Johnson: Yes, sir.

Sen Sullivan: The Commission makes that argument. We’re kind of litigating the case again. And I understand that there’s a necessary level if we’re determining whether we’re going to review or not, people have legitimate questions because it is a financial issue. But folks, they’ve already had the day in court, they’ve already litigated most all, if not all of these questions we’re asking. And that’s not really our primary function.

Sen M Johnson: Mr. Chairman, if I could have just a brief moment to close on this, my whole point is in addition to our responsibility as a Subcommittee of Joint Budget to fund this claim, we also have a responsibility to make sure that every agency that comes before us is doing their job properly. And if there is a process to be followed that could create a problem because they didn’t follow it. And in this case, the problem being that somebody died. Then we at least need to get a straight answer from those agencies so we can if necessary, craft legislation to solve the problem. So I know I’m bringing it a little bit outside of this Subcommittee’s jurisdiction but it is an important point for all of us collectively as legislators to have that information. So I’ll stop it right there because I think I made the point but I sure appreciate you letting me bring that up.

Sen Sullivan: And I agree and that’s why we’re allowing a lot of latitude in the questions. I’m going to go to Senator Wallace next.

Sen Wallace: Thank you, Mr. Chair. This question is to the Claims Commission. You know, over 150 years our citizens had the right to sue the state. And about 3 sessions ago we took that right away, and we established a Claims Commission to do that process for us, so the citizens had a right to appeal to somebody. We really need to be careful in this Committee, and I just back up what the Chair said, we’re not here to retry the case. We’re here to hear what the Commission recommends. And I guess, I’m going to finish that up with asking you do you agree.

Irby (CC): To me, sir?

Sen Sullivan: Yes. Go ahead.

Irby (CC): Yes, I agree with the decision of the Claims Commission.

Sen Sullivan: Thank you. Thank you, Senator Wallace. Representative Shepherd, we’ll go to you next.

Rep Shepherd: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have just a couple questions, and I have a motion. So at the time of the accident was this at night or during the day?

Lacy: For me?

Sen Sullivan: Who are you directing your question to, Mr. Shepherd?

Lacy: It was dusk when the accident happened. The police report I believe indicates– is that in the order? Yeah, I want to say 7:30 but that’s when the police officer arrived. And this is – it was February – March, I’m sorry, March.

Rep Shepherd: And I believe you stated that the officers on the roadway, the water was over their ankles.

Lacy: That’s correct.

Rep Shepherd: On the roadway.

Lacy: That’s correct. We have video, we can show you, it’s funneling down. You can actually see current in the water going north to south.

Rep Shepherd: So then my final question is all of us in the legislature, we get complaints about state highways all over the state. And I mean you can imagine that whether it’s a ditch, an intersection, a guard rail, a sign, we get all kinds of complaints. And so I guess I’d come back to the question earlier, and I just would guess kind of ask it again. When we make these complaints to the Highway Department, we can make them repeatedly, and there probably are complaints all over the state. So what distinguishes this case from other cases that are bound to happen and have happened in the past?

And I know that’s an open-ended question but – and I do have a motion at the proper time – but I’d like to hear again what you believe distinguishes this from many other cases. I mean, an example, we get complaints, there’s probably every one of us that there would be intersections in our district across the state that folks believe are dangerous and that things have been said to the Highway Department. So are we going to be responsible? Is it going to be your contention that we’re responsible then for every accident that occurs at those intersections going forward? So I’d like to hear how you distinguish that. And again I have a motion at the proper time.

Lacy: Probably the best way I could answer that is to describe how I evaluate cases. I’m primarily a plaintiff’s attorney. I represent people who have been injured and try to redress their claims in court, and in this one because of sovereign immunity through the Claims Commission. And just to be candid – and I’ve told the Browns this – I didn’t want this case early on, I really didn’t. When I first heard the facts as they were presented to me, I had the same reaction. That it’s a flooded road in Phillips County, and you got a young 19-year-old who rolled the vehicle and died. I thought there’s probably going to be some comparative fault on what Chris did, and then there’s just no uniqueness to the situation. And so I didn’t initially think I was going to take the case.

I met with the Browns, and in addition to realizing what fine people they are and what this meant to them, I kept listening to them. And everything they said panned out in terms of just the sheer volume. You can go up and down that road and talk to anybody who either– I mean, we had a gentleman who works the farm by lease for somebody else who would just stop on the roadway and tell you, I’ve been complaining about that to every Highway Department worker that comes here about that flooding for years. It just became overwhelming at some point that everybody in this community knew about this and complained about it. I’ve never seen a case before where somebody–

Sen Sullivan: Mr. Lacey, I appreciate it. And I appreciate the question but folks, we are re-litigating the case, and that has already been through the Claims Commission. So to ask Mr. Lacy to make a determination on this, the Chair doesn’t think that’s relevant to what this Claims Commission’s job is. These questions have already been asked. And I think members if we want to know would need to go to the Claims Commission. But I don’t think that’s the purpose of Mr. Lacy to make the determination of when he’s going to go to court. Ms. Irby, do you have a response?

Irby (CC): To address Speaker Shepherd’s question also, I would point the Subcommittee to paragraph 180 of the Commission’s order because, in that particular paragraph, the Commission applied the same roadway defect standard that it utilizes in potholes and other roadway defect cases to this. That whether or not the respondent knew or should have known about, in this case, the flooding problem – that being the roadway defect.

And at the end of that paragraph, the Commission says, “the Claims Commission finds that the standard that respondent consistently argues should apply to respondent, and claims for potholes or other hazardous road conditions should apply to the instant claim as well. As such, where respondent had prior knowledge of a hazardous road condition and failed to remedy it within a reasonable amount of time, respondent is liable for the damages that occur from that condition.” To the extent that’s helpful.

Sen Sullivan: And obviously, this trial lasted how long? The Claims Commission case lasted how long?

Irby (CC): It was a long one-day hearing.

Sen Sullivan: Okay, so we’ve already litigated this. So members please, let’s keep our questions understanding that we’ve already had the trial. And attorneys on both sides presented, ARDOT presented, and they did not contest it. So that’s where we are. Representative Shepherd, you’re recognized. I’m sorry, Representative Lynch, you’re recognized.

Rep Lynch: I have just one question for the Highway Department. The procedure, the standard operating procedure when a complaint is received at the district office, I’d like a copy of that, please. I’d like to know what your practice is when you receive a phone call about a complaint on the road. What happens at that point, is there any closure at all? So I would like to see that practice, please. Thank you.

Sen Sullivan: If you will provide that to the Chair, and we will get that information to all the members, okay? Representative Shepherd, you’re recognized.

Rep Shepherd: I have a motion.

Sen Sullivan: And your motion is?

Rep Shepherd: Well, first, I’m surprised that the Chair would cut short an answer to a question from a member. I understand that this has been litigated but the process is that it still has to come before this Committee and the Budget Committee for appropriation. And that is the expenditure of state funds of the people of Arkansas.

Sen Sullivan: Yeah, I understand but your question?

Rep Shepherd: So I think that if we want to ask a question that is relevant, I think it should be answered. And I appreciate Mr. Lacy answering that. And my motion is particularly in light of the fact the department did not appeal. I would move that we approve the award.

Sen Sullivan: Thank you. In response to my cutting Mr. Lacy’s comments off, I guess we have a disagreement there. You asked Mr. Lacy what his response was and at what level he has. I don’t think that’s within the scope of what we’re trying to do. We have a motion to approve. A second. All in favor say aye. All opposed? The motion is passed. Thank you.

Lacy: Thank you.

Sen Sullivan: Ms. Desikan, go ahead.

BLR Staff: The next claim is claim number 230551, J.A. Riggs Tractor Company, versus the University of Arkansas System. Claimant sought $35,029.49 in repair costs to a backhoe, which was allegedly damaged while rented by the University of Arkansas System. Respondent answered admitting liability in full. The Claims Commission unanimously allowed the claim in that amount and transmitted the claim for review, approval, and placement on an appropriation bill.

Sen Sullivan: Members, anyone have a question? Seeing no questions, do I have a motion to approve this item? A second? We have a second. All in favor say aye. Opposed? This motion is approved. Ms. Desikan?

BLR Staff: The next claim is claim number 211300, Chad Morrow versus the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Claimant sought $60,000 in damages related to injuries sustained in an incident where claimant fell in the shower stall of a bath house in Devil’s Den State Park. Specifically, claimant alleged that when he sat on the seat in the shower stall, the seat came out of the wall, pinning his knees to the ground and slamming his face into the wall.

Some of claimant’s medical expenses were covered by the VA, however, he sought compensation for the uncovered expenses, as well as pain and suffering. The Department of Parks and Tourism denied liability. Following a hearing, the Claims Commission found that the department was negligent in its duty to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition for an invitee. The Claims Commission awarded claimant a total of $30,000, comprised of $7,500 for medical bills and $22,500 for pain and suffering. Neither party appealed the Claims Commission’s decision. The Commission transmitted the claim for review, approval, and placement on an appropriation bill.

Sen Sullivan: Ms. Irby, do you have any comments?

Irby (CC): Not at this time but I’m happy to take any questions.

Sen Sullivan: Any questions members? Representative Jean, you’re recognized.

Rep Jean: Anybody here with Parks and Tourism?

Sen Sullivan: Do we have anyone from Parks and Tourism here? If you would, please introduce yourselves.

King (Parks): Jeff King, Deputy Director of Division of State Parks.

Ryall (Parks/Rec): Marty Ryall, Director of Legislative Affairs for Parks, Heritage, and Recreation.

Sen Sullivan: Representative Jean, you have a question?

Rep Jean: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Do y’all agree with this finding? Did y’all challenge it? Are y’all okay with it?

King (Parks): We did not elect to appeal the decision. And so we’re willing to accept what’s put forth by the Claims Commission and their response.

Rep Jean: So y’all feel like y’all were in neglect on this bathroom?

King (Parks): We know that we had some maintenance records and issues that needed to be addressed at our level and we did have some level of fault in the incident and that’s why we did not appeal the decision.

Rep Jean: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Sen Sullivan: Thank you. Members, any other questions? Seeing none, do we have a motion to approve this item? Got a motion. A second? Got a second. All in favor say aye. Opposed? This motion is approved. We’ll go to item D, negotiated settlements. Ms. Desikan can you provide that information?

BLR Staff: This is claim number 221236, Judy Wages versus the Arkansas Department of Transportation. Claimant sought an unspecified amount of damages for injuries sustained during an automobile accident with a vehicle owned by ARDOT. Claimant alleged that she sustained personal injury when the state vehicle failed to negotiate a right curve, crossed the center line of Highway 101, and eventually collided with the front passenger side of her vehicle. ARDOT did not dispute liability.

The parties entered into a negotiated settlement agreement, settling the claim for $20,000. The Claims Commission approved the settlement and referred it for review, approval, and placement on an appropriation bill.

Sen Sullivan: Ms. Irby, do you have any comments?

Irby (CC): No, sir. Happy to take any questions though.

Sen Sullivan: Senator Johnson, you’re recognized for a question.

Sen M Johnson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Is anyone still here from ARDOT?

Sen Sullivan: If you would introduce yourself. Then Senator Johnson, you’re recognized for your question.

Sen M Johnson: Thank you.

Andrews (ARDOT): Amanda Andrews. I’m sorry.

Sen M Johnson: I’m sorry, ma’am. Go ahead. I’m talking over you.

Andrews (ARDOT): Sorry, Senator. Amanda Andrews, staff attorney with the Department of Transportation.

Sen M Johnson: Again I apologize, Ms. Andrews. I kind of jumped the gun on it. Ms. Andrews, I read–

Sen Sullivan: Would you hit your button again, somehow it went off. And you’re recognized.

Sen M Johnson: Thank you. Ms. Andrews, I read in here somewhere that this individual did not have– this vehicle did not have insurance. Did I read that correctly?

Andrews (ARDOT): The claimant’s vehicle?

Sen M Johnson: This was– no the respondent vehicle. The ARDOT vehicle didn’t have that.

Andrews (ARDOT): By law, the Department’s vehicles are not insured.

Sen M Johnson: Oh okay. Well, I did not know that but I figured it’s because you have sovereign immunity, and you also have we’ll call it self-insurance. Is that the reason for that? There was another thing in there and it escapes me now about the individual who was driving, Mr.– I believe his name is Abhishek C Kumbhani, is that the individual? That there was something about his license situation and all that.

But it says “at the time of the collision defendant and ARDOT did not have any automobile insurance that would provide for the claims.” That’s simply stating that you have to go to the Claims Commission. So I did not know that y’all didn’t carry outside insurance but I can understand why. So I guess that answers all my questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Sen Sullivan: Thank you, Senator. Members any other questions? Ms. Irby, do you have anything? I don’t see any questions. Somebody click it out, sometimes the screen goes blank. Any questions, members? Seeing none, Ms. Irby do you have any comments?

Irby (CC): No sir.

Sen Sullivan: Do we have a motion to negotiate, on this negotiated settlement?

Sen M Johnson: Motion.

Sen Sullivan: Motion and a second, Senator Johnson. All in favor say aye. Motion is approved. Item D 2.

BLR Staff: This is claim number 190727, Charles McRaven and Linda McRaven versus the Arkansas Department of Transportation. Claimants sought $3,750,000 for injuries sustained when Mr. McRaven slipped and fell on the wet floor of the men’s room at a rest stop maintained by ARDOT. Claimants alleged that a water pipe was broken at the rest stop and spilling water all over the men’s room. 

Claimants further alleged that a dangerous condition was created because there were no warning signs posted and there were no on-site employees warning individuals of the condition. Claimants allege that Mr. McRaven broke his hip in several places, sustaining severe injury to his shoulder, ribs, and hit his head on the floor causing severe headaches. Since then claimants allege that Mr. McRaven continued treatment with various doctors to manage his pain and increase his mobility so that he could return to the level of activity he had prior to the fall. ARDOT denied liability.

Following discovery the parties entered into a negotiated settlement agreement, settling the claim for $140,000. The Claims Commission approved the settlement and referred it for review, approval, and placement on an appropriation bill.

Sen Sullivan: Ms. Irby, could you describe first for the committee, I know we have some new members, what a negotiated settlement process is.

Irby (CC): Well the Commission becomes involved when the parties notify the Claims Commission, usually me, they’ll send me an email and say we’ve come to an agreement as to the amount of damages that the claimant incurred or suffered. And the parties have agreed as to the amount that the agency is going to pay to the claimant.

The way that the Claims Commission process works is that those settlement agreements which is, I know it’s a document in y’all’s packet. This particular one was titled A Settlement Release Pro Rata Discharge and Indemnity Agreement. And when that is filed with the Claims Commission then the Claims Commission reviews it, and in this case, approved it. And because it was over $15,000 it gets sent over here for review, approval and.

Sen Sullivan: Yeah, so the Claims Commission is acting on behalf of the legislature and the state, correct? They negotiate on our behalf?

Irby (CC): The Claims Commission has taken the position that this settlement agreement is proper and should be paid and is asking the Subcommittee for that approval, yes sir.

Sen Sullivan: Okay, thank you. Representative Springer, you have a question? Sure. Go ahead, you’re recognized.

Rep Springer: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I notice in this particular claim that there is no submission of any kind of bills or anything of that nature as to the injuries and that sort of thing. As to how you arrived at the $140,000.

Irby (CC): So the parties arrived at the $140,000. I know in this case the – I believe, I’m trying to look and see how much the claimant was originally asking for in it.

Rep Springer: Well, I see the complaint. Follow-up, Mr. Chair.

Sen Sullivan: Sure.

Rep Springer: Most complaints ask for more than – you know, they ask for the world. So I’m just trying to determine how they arrived at the settlement amount.

Irby (CC): So that’s a process that the Commission is not party to. We find out about it once the parties have come to an agreement.

Sen Sullivan: So there’s no document, if I understand the question, there’s no document that outlines the detail of what part of the settlement is punitive and what part is for care, there’s no document to that effect?

Rep Springer: Thank you, Mr. Chair. That is correct.

Sen Sullivan: So there’s no document that does that?

Irby (CC): Well, sir, I would note that the damages that were sought by the claimant. I mean, I think the answer is there were not medical bills. Whether or not they were submitted I’ll have to go back and look and see whether they were submitted through discovery but the claimant was seeking many different types of damages including pain and suffering and mental anguish, the value of earnings or lost wages. Visible results of his injury, loss of consortium. There are ones that would not be quantifiable in paper form.

Sen Sullivan: There’s no document again that answers the question that breaks that down. Your answer is no, there’s no documents.

Rep Springer: There’s no documentation as to how they arrived at that in the file?

Irby (CC): No.

Rep Springer: Thank you.

Sen Sullivan: Representative Collins, you’re recognized.

Rep Collins: Just in reference to Representative Springer’s question, I believe that there were some documents that were omitted from our packet because of privacy concerns, medical records. So that may be addressing her question.

Sen Sullivan: Thank you. Members, any other questions? Senator Johnson, you’re recognized.

Sen M Johnson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Representative Collins touched on what I was saying, there seems to be stipulation of all parties amongst the trip that the gentleman, Mr. McRaven had to the hospitals and all that. So, I’m just presuming that because of that they all agreed to whatever those amounts were and did not include the details in the record that’s submitted to the Claims Commission. Is that pretty accurate?

Irby (CC): Well, typically the parties will engage in discovery before it goes to hearing or until the parties settle where they’re exchanging a lot of documents. But the Claims Commission doesn’t always have those unless they’re filed by the party.

Sen M Johnson: Because everyone agreed to those facts is that more or less the case?

Irby (CC): In this case, the parties came to an agreement.

Sen M Johnson: Right, okay. Thank you, ma’am. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Sen Sullivan: Representative Springer, you’re recognized.

Rep Springer: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I don’t want to belabor the point. I understand that there were certain amounts. I’m just saying that nothing was submitted to show the amounts. I was not asking for personal documentation regarding. In the other cases, there was a submission of dollar amounts and that sort of thing. In this I did not see that amount, amount of bills incurred, wage loss, that sort of thing. So that’s what I’m getting to, not to actually see what was submitted with respect to the injuries but to just know what amount was being claimed. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Sen Sullivan: I think those are valid questions. I guess, Ms. Irby, on these settlements is that normally available?

Irby (CC): So in this case, I was looking. Because what I brought over with me was the complaint itself but not all the supporting documentation. And I’m happy to confirm that once I get back to my hard copy file and to–

Sen Sullivan: Yeah, if you would please get that to the Chair. And then we will share that with members. I think if we’re going to have these settlements it’s good for us to have knowledge about whether or not we can anticipate that in the future or not.

Irby (CC): Yes, sir.

Sen Sullivan: Okay, thank you. Members, any other questions? Do we have a motion? A motion. A second. All in favor say aye. Opposed. And this is approved. We’ll go to D 3.

BLR Staff: This is claim number 16-0222-CC, Anthony Addison versus the Arkansas Department of Transportation. Claimant sought damages in the amount of $2 million, which allegedly arose from a collision with a dump truck owned by ARDOT. Claimant alleged that the dump truck pulled into claimant’s lane of traffic on Highway 15, causing a collision between the 2 vehicles and resulting in total loss of the Addison vehicle.

Claimant alleged that he suffered injuries to his mouth, back, lungs, ribs, face, hands, abdomen, head, arms, fingers, and pelvis. ARDOT denied liability, affirmatively stating that the driver of claimant’s vehicle negligently attempted to pass the dump truck on the right side shoulder of the road as the dump truck was turning right to exit the highway.

Following discovery and a period of advance, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, settling the claim for $200,000. The Claims Commission approved the settlement and referred it for review, approval, and placement on an appropriation bill.

Sen Sullivan: Ms. Irby do you have any questions? I’m sorry, do you have any comment?

Irby (CC): No, sir but I’m happy to take any questions.

Sen Sullivan: And I guess tell us about the documentation that details how the settlement was reached, do we have anything?

Irby (CC): So we’re in the same position as we are on McRaven, is that this one was set for hearing, and on the eve of hearing I received notification that the parties had come to an agreement. And so following that, we received the settlement agreement but the details about how the parties arrived at the settlement amount, the Commission does not have that information. We were not party to the settlement discussions. And as far as the supporting documents for this claim and what was submitted throughout discovery, I’m happy to confirm that as well and to provide that too.

Sen Sullivan: Yeah, I’m just curious does ARDOT, do they keep that information or do they ask for that information, do you know?

Irby (CC): Ms. Andrews may be able to shed some more light on it, but I don’t know.

Sen Sullivan: I’ll wait until someone calls ARDOT up to ask that question, but Representative Springer, you’re recognized.

Rep Springer: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Same dance, same song.

Sen Sullivan: If you’ll get that information for us then?

Irby (CC): Yes, sir.

Sen Sullivan: Anyone like to hear from ARDOT? You push your button?

Rep Eubanks: Yeah, I would.

Sen Sullivan: Representative Eubanks? Okay, Representative Eubanks?

Rep Eubanks: Yeah, I’d like to hear ARDOT come up and give their comments on this.

Sen Sullivan: Yeah, ARDOT if you would come up and have a few questions? And if you would introduce yourself.

Andrews (ARDOT): Good morning, Amanda Andrews, staff attorney with the Department of Transportation.

Sen Sullivan: And Representative Eubanks, would you hit your button again? I’m sorry, sometimes it just kicks off. You’re recognized for questions.

Rep Eubanks: Can you explain to me how you arrived at this amount or is that or are you privy to that information or were you not part of this case either?

Andrews (ARDOT): Oh no, all of these are my cases. It was based on a review of the evidence and an assessment of what we thought could be our liability. The majority of the damages, in this case, were because the claimant could no longer work.

Rep Eubanks: Okay, thank you.

Sen Sullivan: So it sounds like there’s a real interest in how ARDOT in these negotiations reach the settlement agreement, whether it was loss of work, injury, punitive damages. Do y’all negotiate that? Is that part of your negotiation?

Andrews (ARDOT): That would be part of the internal discussions with our chief counsel. So I would take the information that’s gathered during discovery, take that to our chief counsel and say this is what the Claims Commission could find as far as our percentage of liability. So we look at the overall damages, and then we quantify. In the McRaven matter, for example, it was lost wages. In this situation basically, lost wages.

Sen Sullivan: So you do have the detail. If we requested that information. We talked to Ms. Irby, I guess you would be going to ARDOT and say give us the breakdown. So you have that information on all 3 of these?

Andrews (ARDOT): We have the information gathered in discovery, and then it’s an assessment and analysis based on the information we gathered in discovery.

Sen Sullivan: Yes, could you have that information available to the Committee? I think we have people like myself, who have not been a part of the process. I’m interested, as is Representative Springer I’m sure, and others how those negotiated settlements are arrived at proportionally. So if you could get that for all 3 of these we’d appreciate it. Representative Gazaway, you’re recognized.

Rep Wardlaw: I’m quite a bit taller than Representative Gazaway, but this is Representative Wardlaw. My question for the Highway Department is, it looks like we have multiple of these where there were drivers from the highway department that were negligent. D 1 and D 3 were both our vehicles, state vehicles that hit someone else. What is done to prevent this going forward, and what is done to the employees of the Highway Department once this happens? So what are you guys doing in training? What are you guys doing going forward? And how are you addressing stopping this from happening?

Andrews (ARDOT): Thank you for that question. And I would like to do some research and reach out to the people who are responsible.

Rep Wardlaw: So let me tell you this, next time you come to one of our Committees let’s bring the answers or bring somebody from the department that can answer the questions. I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous that we’re approving this kind of money in here and we can’t answer any of the questions. So I do want to know this answer. I do want you to get it to the Committee, get it to the staff. But let’s bring the right people from the department to make sure we can answer the questions that are being asked in the Committee.

Sen Sullivan: Thank you, Representative. I think you’ve heard that clearly, that the legislature is interested in a breakdown, especially on these negotiated settlements. People want the detail on our side of how we achieved that. I think that’s what I’ve heard from several people. Do you have a question or response about that? Are we clear, I guess is the question I’m asking.

Andrews (ARDOT): Yes.

Sen Sullivan: Okay, thank you. Members, any other questions? Seeing none, do we have a motion? Have a motion. Second? We have a second. All in favor say aye. Opposed? The motion is approved. Seeing no further business before the Commission, this Committee is adjourned.