Lawlor Winston Attorney, Ben Murphey, Overturns Summary Final Judgment in Bender v. Caregivers of America, Inc., Case No. 4D09-2930


Ft. Lauderdale, FL, August 18, 2010 – Attorney Ben Murphey successfully appealed a Summary Final Judgment entered in favor of a home health agency based on an alleged exculpatory agreement.  In this case, the firm’s client, Ethel Bender, contracted with Caregivers of America, Inc. for home health services.  Caregivers had Ms. Bender sign multiple “Transportation Responsibility Releases” that it claimed absolved it of any liability for when its home health aide drove Ms. Bender around town.  During one of those trips, Caregivers’ aide crashed her car and seriously injured Ms. Bender.


Following the accident, Ms. Bender sued Caregivers for its vicarious liability for the aide’s negligence.  Caregivers then filed a Motion for Summary Final Judgment claiming the Release barred the lawsuit.  Mr. Murphey argued the release was defective because it failed to state the Release covered claims based on negligence.  Caregivers argued that because its liability was vicarious, inclusion of the word negligence was not necessary.  In its ruling, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal conclusively established that exculpatory releases absolving a party of even vicarious liability for negligence must include the word negligence.


Mr. Murphey’s work in this appeal has created a clear expansion of the requirements applicable to exculpatory releases.  The opinion will have far-reaching effects in this area of the law.  The entire opinion is available at


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The law firm of Lawlor Winston provides the very best representation to their clients – ensuring they are represented at the highest and most effective levels, focusing on protecting the rights of individuals and families. Practice areas include Catastrophic Personal Injury including Wrongful Death, Auto Accidents, Premises Liability, Insurance Bad Faith Disputes, Professional Malpractice, Commercial Litigation, Maritime/Admiralty, Labor & Employment Disputes and ERISA Claims. The firm is headquartered at 2211 Davie Blvd, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312. They may be contacted at (954) 525-2345. Additional information about Lawlor Winston may be obtained from the Firm’s website at