After graduating from law school in 1991, Ted returned to his hometown of Prattville, Alabama, where he joined the general practice law firm of Howell, Sarto & Howell. In 1995, Ted moved his growing personal injury practice to Birmingham, Alabama, where he became a partner in the plaintiffs’ litigation firm of Davenport, Lavette & Meadows, P.C. In 2001, Ted accepted an of counsel position at Beasley Allen. While he has spent his entire career helping the injured and defrauded, Ted now focuses on representing injury victims throughout the country in claims against pharmaceutical, cosmetic and medical device companies. He became a principal at Beasley Allen in 2002. Since that time, Ted has been a leader at Beasley Allen with verdicts and settlements totaling more than $1.25 billion, including a $72.6 million compensatory verdict in a Prempro/breast cancer trial, and $72 million, $55 million, $70 million and $110 million verdicts in Baby Powder/ovarian cancer trials. His work in the hormone replacement therapy litigation helped breast cancer victims recover over a billion dollars. Ted’s work in the talc litigation led to Johnson & Johnson ceasing the sale of Baby Powder, a century-old product that has caused hundreds of thousands of ovarian cancers. Both litigations are prime examples of his willingness to try any case, anywhere, against any corporation, and his tenacity and endurance to go the distance no matter what it takes to achieve justice for his clients and a safer society for us all.
Ted was co-lead counsel in December 2011 when a Philadelphia, Pa., jury awarded $72.6 million to three plaintiffs in a Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) case. After hearing three weeks of testimony regarding the link between those drugs and breast cancer, the jury determined that the HRT drugs, Premarin, Provera and Prempro caused the plaintiffs’ breast cancers and set the value of actual compensatory damages in the case against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. The verdict was delivered in a reverse-bifurcated trial. This type of trial procedure is one in which the jury first determines causation and damages before determining liability. The liability phase of the trial, which was to determine if punitive damages are due, was set to proceed, but Wyeth agreed to settle the case the day before. The terms and amounts are confidential. However, the settlement not only brought an end to the trial, but it was a watershed moment for the Hormone Therapy litigation. After an early string of victories in the litigation, in 2009, Pfizer purchased Wyeth, the principal target and the maker of Premarin and Prempro. With Pfizer’s purchase, a new litigation strategy emerged and a series of defense victories piled up. The main strategy: beat the Plaintiffs on causation in a reverse-bifurcated setting, if possible. This victory and the resulting settlement represented a stunning turn-around in the litigation that catapulted the breast cancer litigation towards resolution and put Beasley Allen in a position to be appointed lead counsel in a $200 million California class action on behalf of duped Prempro purchasers. It also resulted in Ted and the trial team being nominated for the 2012 Public Justice Foundation Trial Lawyer of the Year.
Ted is currently leading the charge in cases where talcum powder caused ovarian cancer. He helped lead a trial team to a $72 million jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson on Feb. 22, 2016. After a month-long trial, a jury in City of St. Louis Circuit Court found Johnson & Johnson liable for injuries and death resulting from the use of its talc-containing products such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder for feminine hygiene. The jury awarded the family of Plaintiff Jacqueline Fox $72 million after agreeing the products contributed to the development of her ovarian cancer. The verdict included $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages. The jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for failure to warn, negligence and conspiracy. This verdict was the first of its kind and resulted in Ted and the Fox trial team being a finalist for the 2016 Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year.
Shortly thereafter, Ted returned to the courtroom where he helped lead another trial team to a $55 million jury verdict in May 2016 against Johnson & Johnson for ovarian cancer resulting from the use of Johnson’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene. After a month-long trial, the jury awarded Gloria Ristesund $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
In August 2016, Ted led a litigation team to Atlantic City, NJ, where they went through a month-long Kemp hearing in effort to convince a Judge of the legitimacy of the science behind the claims of talc causing ovarian cancer. After that Judge ruled against them, Ted and team appealed to the New Jersey Court of appeals. After four years of appellate fights, that court reversed the trial judge and specifically found more than enough evidence to support the claims that Baby Powder causes ovarian cancer.
In October 2016, Ted helped lead another trial team to a $70 million jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America for ovarian cancer resulting from the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene. After a month-long trial, the jury awarded Deborah Giannecchini $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $67.5 million in punitive damages. This was the first-ever Baby Powder verdict against the mining company, Imerys. Ted now represents Giannecchini as a Vice-Chair of the Imerys Talc America Bankruptcy Tort Claimants Committee.
The three 2016 verdicts prompted J&J body powder competitors to start putting ovarian cancer warnings on the labels of their body powder bottles in 2017.
The Ristesund and Giannecchini verdicts prompted Public Justice to nominate Ted and the trial teams for the 2017 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award.
In May 2017, Ted helped lead a trial team to a $110.4 million jury verdict against the same companies. After a month-long trial, the jury awarded Lois Slemp $5.4 million in compensatory damages and $105 million in punitive damages.
Shortly thereafter, he took a small group of Beasley Allen talc lawyers and staff to Los Angeles, where they spent 2 months consulting and helping to lead another talc trial team to a $417 million verdict on behalf of Eva Echeverria in August 2017.
Since then, Ted has continued to work tirelessly to bring about compensation for his talc clients and change in the cosmetic industry. In addition to getting cases set for trial, he has lead teams of lawyers, experts and clients to Washington D.C. to testify before Congress in hopes of better cosmetic consumer protection laws, and before the Food & Drug Administration for better industry testing of cosmetics. All of these efforts combined to force Johnson & Johnson to announce on May 19, 2020, that they would cease selling talc-based Baby Powder in the United States and Canada. It can truly be said that Beasley Allen and our clients have brought about change that will save thousands of lives in the future.
Ted was the principal Beasley Allen attorney who handled the Lotronex, Meridia, Guidant Ancure Stent, Sulzer, Smith & Nephew Knee Replacement litigations, and Hormone Therapy (Prempro) litigations. He was selected to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Prempro Multidistrict Litigation.
Awards and Ratings
In 2016, Public Justice named Ted a finalist in their annual “Trial Lawyer of the Year” Award for his work in the talcum powder litigation. He was nominated for the same award in 2017. His talc verdicts were listed in the National Law Journal’s Top 100 Verdicts of 2016 and 2017, and his hormone replacement therapy verdict was selected by the National Law Journal as No. 30 on its list of Top 100 Verdicts of 2011. Ted also received the 2009 and 2017 award for Beasley Allen Mass Torts Lawyer of the Year, and in 2012 and 2016, he was selected as Beasley Allen Litigator of the Year. Ted has been selected for inclusion in the annual Midsouth Super Lawyer list since 2014 and has been named to the LawDragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers, which is the 500 best attorneys across the nation in this category.
For their work on the Echeverria case, Ted and the talc team received recognition by the National Trial Lawyers Association as the Top Trial Team of the Year.
For their work in the Giannecchini and Slemp trials, the Beasley Allen talc team landed the firm among Law360’s Product Liability Groups of the Year.
Ted received the Alabama State Bar Continuing Legal Education Award in recognition of efforts to continue and enhance professional competence. He has been recognized as an “advocate” by the National College of Advocacy.
Ted is a frequent speaker on mass tort issues. He was also co-chair of the Harris Martin Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Litigation Conferences held in Charleston, South Carolina in 2016 and 2019, California in 2016 and 2017, and Miami in 2017 and 2018. He has been a guest speaker at National Lawyer Conventions held in Montgomery, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Miami, Key West, Aspen, Charleston, Boca Raton, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Cancun, Atlanta, Las Vegas, San Diego and Puerto Rico, and at an American Bar Association Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Continuing Education event. Ted has spoken at the Mississippi Judicial College on the subject of electronic discovery. He has spoken regarding Hormone Therapy (Prempro) litigation in a conference sponsored by the American Association for Justice.
Ted has been interviewed by Legal Talk Network regarding the latest in the Vioxx (2006) and Hormone Therapy (2012) litigations. He is mentioned in the 2007 through 2010 editions of The Legal 500, a book carrying independent editorial commentary on the leading law firms in the United States. Ted has been quoted in publications such as The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal, FairWarning.org, Law360 and The Trial Lawyer. Ted has appeared on CBS This Morning and The CBS Evening News to discuss the $55 million talc/ovarian cancer verdict, and on the CBS Evening News to discuss the 2018 Reuters article regarding asbestos in Baby Powder.
Ted is married to the former Carla Musgrove of Eufaula, Alabama. They have two grown children, Nathan and Amanda. He and his family are members of Saint James United Methodist Church, where he has served in the Music Ministry and on the Board of Trustees and as a lay helper in Haiti during the months following the 2010 earthquake. Ted is an avid triathlete, having competed in numerous endurance events, including Ironman Florida, Escape from Alcatraz, Marine Corps Marathon and Ironman Augusta 70.3 (where he has twice qualified for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships).