Bill to Lift Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations Heads to Crist

Florida Senate bill 0092, to be known as the Jeffrey Klee Memorial Act, aims to lift the two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims arising from murder or manslaughter. The bill, which is identical to House bill H 0001, passed the Senate unanimously last month and is now on its way for Governor Crist’s signature.

In a wrongful death case, family members┬ámay file a civil suit against the party responsible for in addition to any criminal charges the State may bring. Under current Florida law, family members have only two years to file a lawsuit to claim compensation for their loved one’s wrongful death. The new law would lift that time restriction when the death was the result of murder or manslaughter.

The new law is named in honor of Jeffrey Klee, who disappeared in 1977. His body was discovered at the bottom of a canal in Coral Springs in 2008. A friend later admitted pushing the van containing Klee’s remains into the canal.

Klee’s sister Cynthia, who is a sergeant with the Coral Springs PD, expressed her appreciation in an interview with the Sun Sentinel. “We had not justice and it was very frustrating….Now, other families have a recourse to do something.”

If the law is passed, families will have an extended period to file their cases if the death was the result of intentional homicide, even if the body or perpetrator is not discovered until years later.

Klee’s only family will not be affected by the change, which will apply only to events taking place after the bill is signed into law.

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