In Loving Memory

Eric A. Peterson

West Palm Beach Florida Office

After founding Peterson Bernard in 1981, Eric Peterson devoted his full-time effort to the practice of insurance defense law. As managing shareholder of the firm’s West Palm Beach office, Mr. Peterson’s primary areas of practice included claims involving contractor/road liability, architect and engineer liability and premises liability with emphasis on liquor liability, negligent security and false arrest. Mr. Peterson’s practice also included medical/dental/real estate broker and agent malpractice defense, as well as employment law. Mr. Peterson handled, as sub-issues to the above, many cases dealing with tractor-trailer accidents, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, as well as libel/slander. 

Mr. Peterson and several of his cases have been featured on a number of national television news magazines inclusive of 20-20, Inside Edition, and Direct Television. Mr. Peterson was continually designated as having the prestigious “AV” Martindale-Hubbell award and had been awarded the prestigious AV® Preeminent™ rating by Martindale-Hubbell.

State/Court Admissions

  • New York Bar
  • Florida Bar
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida


  • B.B.A., Ohio University
  • J.D., State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Assistant to Majority Leader Earl W. Brydges, New York Senate 
  • Clerk in the New York Senate


  • The Florida Bar
  • Palm Beach County Bar Association
  • Broward County Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Board of Directors Ronald McDonald House
  • Recommended provider of legal services for Independent Hardware Retail 
  • Store Owners Association
  • Professional Member, National Fire Sprinkler Association

Reported Cases

 Vazir v. Mobil Oil Co., 713 So. 2d 1120 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 1998); Press v. Jordan, 670 So. 2d 1016 (Fla. App. 3rd Dist. 1996); Bradford v. Lewis, 596 So. 2d 1139 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 1992); Flanagan v. Wagner, Nugent, Johnson, Roth, Romano, Eriksen & Kupfer, P.A., 594 So. 2d 776 (Fla. App. 4th Dist 1992); Allstate Ins. Co. v. Executive Car and Truck Leasing, Inc., 494 So. 2d 487 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 1985); Executive Car & Truck Leasing v. DeSerio, 470 So. 2d 21 (Fla. App. 1985); Douglas v. Winkley Co., 363 So. 2d 849 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 1978); Czora v. Aherns, 344 N.Y.S. 2d 621 1973).

Recent Cases

Eric Peterson obtained a summary judgment in favor of a prominent road construction contractor in a recent case brought in Palm Beach County, Florida. The Circuit Court ruled that the Plaintiff could not “stack inferences” where there was no direct evidence of negligence against the road construction contractor. Plaintiff’s case relied solely on circumstantial evidence and could not proceed on “inference stacking” based on circumstantial evidence. 

Eric Peterson and his team obtained a final summary judgment on behalf of a defendant in a third party action for contribution.  Plaintiff, an employee of the defendant was seriously injured on July 31, 2001 when the tractor he was operating was struck by a golf cart. The plaintiff was thrown from the tractor and was then run over by the tractor.  The owner and the driver of the golf cart both filed a third party complaint against the defendant alleging that it engaged in conduct that was substantially certain to result in injury or death since the tractor was not equipped with a seatbelt.  The defendant’s motion for final summary judgment was predicated upon workers compensation immunity under Fla. Stat. 440.11.  

Eric Peterson and his team obtained a final summary judgment on behalf of  the owner of a tractor-trailer in a wrongful death action brought by the decedents estate against the owner for vicarious liability under Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine. 

Plaintiff was killed instantly when her vehicle was struck from behind by the tractor-trailer owned by the defendant.  The tractor-trailer was driven by an employee of the co-defendant company that leased the tractor-trailer from the owner.  The owner moved for final summary judgment arguing that it was exempt from liability as the owner of the tractor-trailer pursuant to Fla. Stat. 324.021(9)(b)(1).  This statute relieves an owner/lessor from liability under Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine so long as the lease term is for one year or longer and the lessee maintains liability insurance that provides coverage limits not less than the limits set forth in the statute. 

The trial court entered final summary judgment in favor of the owner and plaintiff appealed the ruling to the 4th DCA where the ruling was affirmed. 

The case proceeded to trial against the co-defendants and the jury awarded over $12,000,000 in damages.

Eric Peterson and his team obtained a final summary judgment on behalf of an employer in a wrongful death action arising out of a work related accident.

The employee was killed on a job site when a road grader backed over him. 

Plaintiff’s estate argued that the employer had engaged in conduct that was substantially certain to result in injury or death based upon a non-functioning back up alarm on the grader. 

The motion for final summary judgment predicated upon workers compensation immunity pursuant to Fla. Stat. 440.11.

The plaintiff appealed the court’s ruling to the 4th DCA where the trial court’s ruling was affirmed.