William M. Martin

707 SE 3rd Ave.,5th Floor
Fort Lauderdale FL 33316

Phone: 954.763.3200 extension 1102

E-mail: bill.martin@petersonbernard.com

Bill Martin has been a member of Peterson Bernard since 1987, and is the managing shareholder of the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. Mr. Martin practices in the areas of insurance defense, products liability, general and premises liability, commercial litigation, motor vehicle liability, personal injury, construction, and legal malpractice. Mr. Martin has been awarded the prestigious AV® Preeminent™ rating by Martindale-Hubbell.

State/Court Admissions

  •  New York Bar, 1979
  • Florida Bar, 1980
  • District of Columbia Bar, 1980
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, 1980
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1981
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, 1981
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 1988
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 1988
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1992 
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 2007


Education/Background

  • B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1975
  • J.D., State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law, 1978


Affiliations/Memberships

  • The Florida Bar
  • Broward County Bar Association
  • The District of Columbia Bar
  • Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator


Reported Cases

Ryan Inc. Eastern v. Continental Cas. Co., 910 So. 2d 298 (Fla. App. 2nd Dist. 2005)
Latite Roofing and Sheet Metal Co., Inc. v. Barker, 886 So. 2d 1064 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 2004)
Clark v. United Services Auto. Ass’n, 818 So. 2d 501 (Fla. L. Weekly S491 2002)
Florida Power & Light Co. v. Allis Chambers Corp., 85 F.3rd 1514 (11th Cir. 1996)
Florida Power & Light v. Allis Chambers Corp., 752 F. Supp. 434 (S.D. Fla. 1990)
U.S. v. Pepper’s Steel and Alloys, Inc., 823 F. Supp. 1574 (S.D. Fla. 1993)
U.S. v. Pepper’s Steel and Alloys, Inc., 742 F. Supp. 641 (S.D. Fla. 1990)
Delmonico v. Traynor, 116 So.3d 1205 (Fla. 2013)
Aquila v. Brisk Transportation, et al, 170 So. 3d 924 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015)

Recent Cases

Bill Martin tried a case in which a 60-year old physician rode his road bicycle into the back of the defendant’s landscaping truck after riding 26 miles out of a total intended ride of 30 miles.  The truck was improperly parked with two wheels in the bicycle lane and two wheels on the sidewalk. The bicyclist rode directly into the back of the truck, sustaining blunt force head trauma which caused his death. 

Plaintiff’s attorney alleged that defendant placed the safety cone behind the truck after the accident, failed to render assistance to the bicyclist, and that defendant did not call 911. Plaintiff’s attorney demanded $52.5 million for the death of the doctor. The jury found our landscaper 30% negligent for parking in the bike lane, and the plaintiff 70% negligent for not looking where he was going.  Damages were $3 million, reduced by 70%, or $900,000.00, well within the primary carrier’s policy limit. 

Bill Martin recently obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial involving a collision between a bicycle and an automobile in a shopping plaza parking lot. The minor plaintiff had the right of way and the defendant had a stop sign. The minor’s leg was run over in the accident and he sustained a fractured femur. He subsequently fractured the same femur on two successive occasions; and his physician related the two subsequent fractures to the original injury. Medicals exceeded $200,000. Defendant only had a $10,000 liability policy, so the defense verdict was well received. 

Bill Martin defended a premises owner at trial on a claim brought by a pressure cleaner who alleged his fall from the roof was due to a defect therein. The jury found significant comparative negligence, awarded Plaintiff less than 10% of the demand, and rejected Plaintiff’s main theory of the case and his alleged need for a future neck (ACDF) and knee replacement surgery.

Bill Martin obtained a defense verdict after an 11-day trial in which Plaintiff’s attorney asked the jury to award $150 million in damages against the owner of an automobile.  The insured client was sued for negligent maintenance which allegedly caused hydroplaning and a spinout on The Florida Turnpike, following which the plaintiff mother and her infant were struck by a passing truck resulting in the child’s quadriplegia.

Bill Martin obtained a dismissal with prejudice of multiple legal malpractice cases against an attorney who had served as the Personal Representative of Plaintiff’s father’s estate.  Plaintiff, who was pro se, was determined to be a vexatious litigant, and he was prohibited from filing any additional lawsuits without an attorney representing him.

William Martin picked a jury in a legal malpractice case, following which Plaintiff essentially surrendered based upon the defense opening argument, which focused on lack of causation. The case involved allegations that the defendant lawyer negligently drafted a deed provided as security for an antecedent debt, by ignoring the homestead interest of the debtor’s wife. The case also involved issues relating to the handling of eviction and quiet title actions by the defendant lawyer. The settlement was for less than the anticipated cost of defense at trial.

Bill Martin was successful in obtaining dismissal of a legal malpractice case with prejudice based on Plaintiff’s inability to allege “exoneration” and “post conviction relief” in the underlying criminal case in which the defendant attorney represented the Plaintiff.

Bill Martin was successful in opposing a plaintiff’s motion for leave to file lawsuit against a court-appointed receiver. The court agreed with Mr. Martin’s argument that the allegations against the receiver stemmed directly from performance of his duties as authorized by the order of the court that appointed him. The court held that where a receiver acts in accordance with court order and direction, the court order under which he acts will be a complete defense to personal liability.

Bill Martin won Summary Final Judgment in a legal malpractice case in Palm Beach County.  Plaintiff alleged that his inheritance was diminished because his father’s last Will was the product of undue influence and that the Testator lacked testamentary capacity.  The defense won on the arguments that Plaintiff’s claim was barred by statute and collaterally estopped.

Bill Martin and his team won summary judgment in a case in which plaintiff fell and sustained serious injury at a bank while walking down a concrete exit ramp.  The court held that plaintiff failed to identify sufficiently the condition that caused the accident.