Heather Bridwell

416 Flamingo Avenue
Stuart FL 34996

Phone: 772.286.9881 extension 1818

E-mail: heather.bridwell@petersonbernard.com

Heather Bridwell is a shareholder in the firm’s Stuart Office, and has practiced in the field of insurance defense since 2000.  She has been awarded the prestigious AV® Preeminent™ rating by Martindale-Hubbell.   Ms. Bridwell focuses her practice on insurance defense, automobile liability, wrongful death, premises liability, professional liability, construction defects, general liability, first party property defense, and appellate work. She has handled cases throughout South Florida and has successfully defended numerous cases through jury verdict.

Ms. Bridwell is active in the legal community.  She served two terms as president of the Martin County Chapter of Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL), and currently remains an active member of the board of directors. She is a member of the Justice Major B. Harding American Inns of Court, the Martin County Bar Association, and the Palm Beach County Bar Association. She is chairperson of the Law Week Committee for the Palm Beach County Bar Association. She has volunteered her time to serve as a judge at the annual FLRE Florida High School Mock Trial State Finals Competition. She has presented speeches to students in Palm Beach County concerning trial practice.   She was appointed to serve on the Law Related Education Committee for the Florida Bar.  Ms. Bridwell lives in Jupiter, FL with her husband and daughter, and enjoys running, boating, and traveling in her spare time.

State/Court Admissions

  • Florida Bar, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida 
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit

 

Education/Background

  • B.S., Communications, Florida State University, 1996
  • J.D., Florida State University College of Law, 1999 

 

Affiliations/Memberships

  • The Florida Bar- Admitted April of 2000
  • Martin County Bar Association
  • Palm Beach County Bar Association
  • Martin County Chapter of Florida Association for Women Lawyers
  • Chair of the Law Week Committee for Palm Beach County Bar Association 2015-2016
  • Justice Major B. Harding American Inns of Court
  • Appointed to serve on The Florida Bar- Law Related Education Committee for term period of 2015-2018


Reported Opinions

Dollar Sys. v. Elvia, 967 So. 2d 447 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007); 

Fla. Dep't of Envtl. Prot. v. Green, 32 Fla. L. Weekly D 512, (Fla. 4th DCA 2/21/07), rehearing denied;

Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, L.L.P. v. Malay, 133 So. 3d 1178 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014).

Recent Cases

Heather Bridwell obtained summary judgment on behalf of a realtor who was sued by the plaintiff for conspiracy to intentionally interfere with a business relationship. The realtor represented one of the owners of a home that was part of a divorce proceeding.

The plaintiff alleged that the realtor and the plaintiff’s ex-husband conspired to interfere with the sale of the home.

The defense argued that there can be no tort of intentional interference with a business relationship when the alleged co-conspirator (the ex-husband) was a necessary party to the contract that was allegedly interfered with, and that the evidence showed that the realtor committed no independent act to interfere with the sell of the home.

The court agreed and granted summary judgment

Heather Bridwell obtained a successful defense verdict in an auto accident case where liability was disputed.  The case was tried in Martin County.  

Plaintiff contended that the Defendant violated his right of way, thereby striking him and causing the accident.  

The Defendant contended that the Plaintiff cut a turn too sharp and struck him as he was stopped waiting to exit a parking lot.  There were no independent witnesses to the accident.  

The jury found no negligence on the part of the Defendant.  Attorneys fees are being sought against the Plaintiff due to a rejected proposal for settlement.

Heather Bridwell and Ted Mortell obtained summary judgment on behalf a realtor who was sued by the plaintiffs in Federal Court for alleged violations of the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act(ILSA).

The motion for summary judgment argued that the realtor could not be liable as an agent under ILSA under traditional agency principles. The court agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of the realtor, thereby finding that the plaintiffs were not entitled to any damages from the realtor. The realtor will be requesting that the court order the plaintiffs to pay the realtor’s attorney’s fees and costs. 

Heather Bridwell received a favorable jury award in an auto accident case in St. Lucie County. The case involved a T-bone collision.

Defense admitted negligence in causing the accident, but disputed causation and damages.

Plaintiff had a lumbar fusion which he claimed was related to the accident. Defense argued the fusion was due to a preexisting condition and unrelated to this accident. Plaintiff asked the jury for $2 million in damages.

Defense argued the Plaintiff’s damages from the accident were limited to $20K for the conservative treatments he received in the first 2-3 months immediately following the accident. Jury agreed with the defense and awarded $20K in past medicals, no future medicals, no wage loss, no permanent injury.

Heather Bridwell obtained a successful verdict in a 4 day trial in Palm Beach County.  The case involved a moderate impact three car collision. 

The Plaintiff initially treated conservatively but later underwent a single level cervical fusion. 

Our insurance client offered to tender its $50k policy upon learning of the surgery, but the Plaintiff refused to accept the policy and proceeded to trial in an attempt to get an excess verdict and pursue a bad faith claim.  The Plaintiff asked the jury for approximately $800K in damages.   

The jury determined that the surgery was not related to the accident, and only awarded the Plaintiff for some of the conservative treatment he received initially after the accident of approx. $28K, with no future medical treatment and a finding of no permanent impairment.  After the collateral source set-offs were applied, the verdict came down to $18K. 

There was an expired proposal for settlement for the $50K policy limits, which entitled our client to attorney’s fees and costs, which surpassed the net award to the Plaintiff.

Heather Bridwell obtained a successful verdict in a jury trial involving an auto accident in Palm Beach County, Florida.

The client admitted responsibility for causing the rear-end collision and the case was tried on damages only. The Plaintiff claimed multiple disc herniations to the cervical spine and underwent three surgeries following the accident.

The plaintiff’s past medical bills were over $250K, and she claimed a need for extensive future treatment and pain and suffering. The plaintiff requested over $1 million in damages during closing arguments.

We argued that the MRI films showed long-standing degenerative disc disease and spurring that was not caused by the accident, and that at most the plaintiff sustained a muscle strain to the neck as a result of the accident that required no surgery.

The jury agreed and awarded a verdict of $24K, prior to the $10K PIP set-off. The jury awarded no amount for future medicals or pain and suffering. Attorney’s fees and costs will be sought from the plaintiff pursuant to proposals for settlement that were filed in the case.

Heather Bridwell obtained summary judgment in a premises liability case on behalf of the owner of an apartment building in Ft. Pierce.

The plaintiff alleged that the building owner negligently maintained the property and a broken chair left on a walkway caused her to fall and sustain injuries, including a broken hip.

In the motion for summary judgment, the defense argued that it did not breach a duty to the plaintiff and that the fall was caused by the plaintiff’s own negligence and not by any wrongdoing on the part of the apartment building owner.

The court agreed and granted the motion for summary judgment. 

Heather Bridwell obtained a successful verdict in a jury trial involving an auto accident in St. Lucie County, Florida.

The defendant admitted responsibility for the side-impact collision and the case was tried on causation and damages only. Plaintiff claimed multiple disc herniations to the cervical and lumbar spine and claimed that she needed a cervical fusion surgery as a result of the accident.

The plaintiff requested approximately $700K in damages during closing arguments. We argued that the MRI films showed only degenerative changes that were not caused by the accident, and that at most the plaintiff had a temporary aggravation of her degenerative spinal condition.

The jury agreed and awarded a verdict of $19K, prior to the $10K PIP set-off, which was only a portion of the plaintiff’s past medicals, and awarded no amount for future medicals or pain and suffering. The verdict was less than two proposals for settlement that were filed by the defense prior to trial.