Lead Counsel Rated

Merkel & Cocke, P.A.

Personal Injury Attorneys | Serving Clarksdale, MS

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30 Delta Avenue
Clarksdale, MS 38614

Call Now to Protect Your Right to Compensation for Your Injuries

If you have been injured and need representation, we invite you to consider one of the established attorneys of Merkel & Cocke, P.A. for the qualified and experienced counsel you deserve. For over 35 years, we have represented victims throughout Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas, and have successfully litigated and settled hundreds of personal injury cases. Merkel & Cocke, P.A. is one of the largest plaintiff's law firms in Northern Mississippi, and is fully equipped with the latest in technology to provide you with comprehensive and compassionate legal care.

Merkel & Cocke, P.A. has offered thorough, aggressive legal representation on behalf of clients throughout Mississippi. As one of the largest plaintiffs’ personal injury law firms in the state, we consider it our duty and our honor to serve the people of our communities, and to uphold their rights in court. Our reputation is such that other law firms turn to us when they need legal counsel, and our business has grown through the years because of the referrals of these attorneys, who trust us with their needs and the needs of their clients. We are the firm you can trust when there are challenges ahead.

The facts of each personal injury case are different, and depending on your injuries, the money damages can range significantly. Although each claim is different, they are all limited by a statute of limitations that prevent you from filing a case if you wait too long to pursue action. If you are considering whether your case is worth pursuing, one of the qualified attorneys of Merkel & Cocke, P.A. can assist you with this determination during a free consultation. Some common personal injury cases include:

  • Casino Litigation
  • Chiropractic Malpractice
  • Contract Disputes / Commercial Litigation
  • Farm Accidents
  • Hunting Accidents
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Personal Injury
    • Spinal Cord Injury
    • Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Broken Bones
    • Burn Injuries
    • Loss of limb
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
    • Medical Product Liability / Mass Torts
  • Vehicle Crashes and Accidents
    • Car Accidents
    • Truck Accidents
    • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Wrongful Death

Merkel & Cocke, P.A. is a premier personal injury and medical malpractice law firm serving clients throughout Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and in federal courts. Call 866-304-2990 or 662-483-078 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a lawyer at our home office in Clarksdale.

Attorney Profiles

Charles M. Merkel, Jr. - Managing Partner

After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Mississippi School of Law in June 1966, Mr. Merkel accepted an appointment under the U.S. Department of Justice Honors Program and served for 4 years in the tax division of the Department of Justice in a refund trial section trying tax refund cases in the U.S. District Courts over a five state area.

In October 1970, Mr. Merkel returned to his native Mississippi, accepting a position with the firm of Sullivan, Dunbar & Smith. In 1973, he was involved in the formation of the firm of Holcomb, Dunbar, Connell & Merkel where he was involved primarily in litigation until the spring of 1982 when Mr. Merkel and Mr. Cocke formed Merkel & Cocke for the purpose of handling complex plaintiff's litigation with emphasis in medical malpractice, product liability, toxic torts, drug reactions, brain damage cases, and in general, all catastrophic personal injury cases.

Mr. Merkel has received multiple jury awards ranging from 1 million to 20 million dollars and many more million dollar settlements. He is active in trial lawyer activities and is a frequent lecturer on trial technique and advocacy, appearing at seminars sponsored by the Mississippi State Bar, Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, American Board of Trial Advocates, and others.

For more than 30 years, Mr. Merkel has personally delivered hundreds of jury presentations in the representation of personal injury victims whose cases involved complex medical and technical injury mechanisms and causation problems.

Bar Admissions:

  • Mississippi, 1966
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1969
  • U.S. Tax Court, 1969
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota, 1970
  • 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court ND, SD, & MS

Education: 

  • University of Mississippi School of Law, Oxford, Mississippi, 1966
    • J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence
    • Honors: Magna Cum Laude
    • Honors: 2nd in Class
  • Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, District of Columbia, 1969
    • LL.M., Master of Law(s)
  • University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, 1964
    • B.A., Bachelor of Arts 
    • Honors: Magna Cum Laude

Professional Associations and Memberships: 

  • American Board of Trial Advocates, 1983 - Present Member
  • Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, 1982 - Present Member
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 1982 - Present Member
  • Mississippi Bar Association, 1991 - Present Fellow
  • Board Directors, Lula Rich Educational Foundation, 1983-1989
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Primerus

Honors and Awards: 

  • President, American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Secretary, Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America
  • Listed as a Super Lawyer


John Hartwell Cocke - Partner

After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975, Mr. Cocke moved to Clarksdale, MS to begin practicing in a general litigation firm. In 1982, Mr. Cocke and Mr. Merkel left that firm and established Merkel & Cocke, P.A., and since that time the emphasis of Mr. Cocke's practice has progressed more and more toward medical malpractice. At the present time his practice is exclusively devoted to handling medical negligence cases for the plaintiff, either as a result of direct contact by the client or as, more commonly occurs, on referral from other attorneys who are not familiar with the handling of medical negligence cases. Mr. Cocke handles all types of medical negligence cases, but a uniform requirement is that serious injury or death have occurred as a result of the medical mistake.

Mr. Cocke has handled many "brain damaged baby cases," as well as deaths as a result of the failure to treat in the emergency room setting and the premature discharge of patients after surgery, as well as failure to promptly diagnose cancer.

Mr. Cocke has developed a particular interest in the use of modern technology in medical negligence cases and has spoken at seminars on this subject. The Internet has developed into a very useful tool in conducting medical research and communicating with other attorneys handling similar cases via the Internet is also a major help in the handling of medical cases.

Current Employment Positions:

  • Partner

Bar Admissions:

  • Mississippi, 1975
  • Tennessee, 1992
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1975
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Mississippi, 1975
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Mississippi, 1975

Education: 

  • University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1975
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1969
    • B.A., Bachelor of Arts 
    • Honors: With Distinction 
    • Major: Economics

Professional Associations and Memberships: 

  • Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, 1992 - Present
  • Member, Board of Governors
  • American Bar Association, 1998
  • Co-chair, Section of Healthcare Law

Honors and Awards:

  • AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2007 – Present
  • Lawyer of the Year, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Memphis, 2016
  • Lawyer of the Year, Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs, Memphis, 2013
  • Super Lawyers, 2006 – Present
  • Lawyer of the year by Best Lawyers for Memphis, 2012 and 2014, in field of Medical Malpractice

Edward (Ted) P. Connell, Jr. - Partner

Ted Connell's practice includes litigation, real estate, gaming law, wills, trusts, estates, and workers' compensation. He is admitted to practice before all state courts in Mississippi and Tennessee, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the U. S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas and the Eastern and Western Districts of Tennessee.

Mr. Connell received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Mississippi in 1994, graduating Cum Laude. This was followed by receipt of his Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1997.

While attending the University of Mississippi School of Law, Mr. Connell authored “Mississippi Casinos and the Detention of a Patron: What are the Parameters of a Casino’s Powers in Detaining a Patron and the Subsequent Liability Which Can Follow?” which was published in the National Gaming Law Review. He was also a member Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Eta Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Phi Delta Phi.

Bar Admissions: 

  • Mississippi
  • Tennessee
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Mississippi
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Mississippi
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Arkansas
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Arkansas
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Tennessee
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Tennessee

Education: 

  • University of Mississippi School of Law, Oxford, Mississippi, 1997
    • Juris Doctor
  • University of Mississippi, 1994
    • Bachelor of Arts 
    • Honors: Cum Laude

Professional Associations and Memberships: 

  • American Bar Association
  • The Mississippi Bar Association (Board of Directors of the Young Lawyers Division, 2006-07, Young Lawyers Assistance Committee, High School Mock Trial Committee, and Coahoma County Representative on the Disaster Legal Relief Committee.)
  • Tennessee State Bar
  • Coahoma County Bar Association (President, 2005-06)
  • Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Trial Lawyers Association
  • The University of Mississippi Alumni Board
  • The University of Mississippi Law Alumni Board
  • The University of Mississippi Young Alumni Board

Honors and Awards:

  • Super Lawyers, 2011–13 and 2015 – Present
  • Super Lawyers and Mid-South Super Lawyers “Rising Star,” 2008–10
  • Mississippi Business Journal, “Leaders In Law,” 2012
  • Delta Business Journal, “Top 50 Under 50 in the Delta,” 2003

Charles M. Merkel, III - Partner

Charles M. Merkel, III was born and raised in Clarksdale, MS. He attended the University of Mississippi for his undergraduate and law degrees, graduating with honors both times. While at Ole’ Miss as an undergraduate, he was awarded the Taylor Medal for English; this is the University’s highest academic honor, awarded to less than 1% of the student body. Upon graduation, he received the coveted position as a judicial law clerk for US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Jackson Division.

Mr. Merkel joined Merkel & Cocke, P.A. in 2002, where he works with clients who have sustained serious injuries because of negligence, medical malpractice and defective products.

Mr. Merkel is on the board of North Mississippi Rural Legal Services, and a member of St. George’s Episcopal Church. He is an avid outdoorsman and hunter, and spends his free time with his family.

Bar Admissions:

  • Mississippi, 1998
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, 1998
  • U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, 1998

Education: 

  • B.A., summa cum laude, University of Mississippi, 1995
    • Taylor Medal Award Winner: English
  • J.D., cum laude, University of Mississippi, 1998
    • Chancellor’s Scholar
    • Moot Court Board Member
    • “Best Written Brief Award,” 1996

Professional Associations and Memberships: 

  • Coahoma County Bar Association
  • Mississippi Association for Justice
  • American Association for Justice

Honors and Awards: 

  • Lawyers of Distinction, 2017
  • Super Lawyers, 2016 – Present
  • Super Lawyers “Rising Stars,” 2008­–13
  • Best Lawyers in America, Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice, 2012 ­– Present
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, 2014 – Present
  • Top 40 under 40, 2012

Cynthia I. Mitchell - Partner

Bar Admissions:

  • Mississippi, 1982
  • U.S. Northern District of Mississippi, 1982
  • U.S. Federal Court, 1982
  • U.S. Fifth Circuit, 1984
  • U.S. Eastern and Western Districts Arkansas, 1989
  • U.S. Southern District of Mississippi, 2001

Education:

  • Harvard University Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1981
    • J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence 
    • Honors: Cum Laude
    • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 1978
    • B.A., Bachelor of Arts 
    • Honors: Magna Cum Laude

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • Member, Mississippi State Bar Association, 1981 - Present
  • Member, Coahoma County Bar Association, 1981 - Present
  • Member, American Association for Justice, 1986 - Present
  • Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, 1986 - Present
  • Member of Board of Governors 1989 – 1991
  • Member of Board of Governors 2006 – 2007
  • Co-Chairman, Amicus Committee

Honors and Awards:

  • Listed in Super Lawyers and Top 50 Women Attorneys in the Mid-South, 2009 – to present
  • AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project, Beyond the Call of Duty Award, 2010

Verdicts and Settlements

Merkel & Cocke's clients receive a $23.6 million verdict in medical malpractice case
Memphis, TN - A Shelby County, Tennessee jury returned a $23,600,000 verdict in favor of Plaintiffs Courtney Hill and Robert Hill of Desoto County Mississippi on July 10, 2009. Plaintiffs’ counsel are William B. Raiford of the Clarksdale, Mississippi law firm of Merkel & Cocke, Jim Lees of the Charleston, West Virginia law firm of Hunt & Lees, and Philip Stroud of the Southaven, Mississippi firm of Stroud & Harper.

Jury Returns Verdict in Favor of Merkel & Cocke Clients in Another Katrina Related Lawsuit
In Washington County Circuit Court, a jury recently returned a verdict in the amount of $80,000.00 in favor of a family represented by Merkel & Cocke, who lost their home to Hurricane Katrina. The jury found that an insurance agency breached an oral contract with the family to procure flood insurance and that the agent was negligent in failing to procure flood coverage which was requested more than one year prior to Hurricane Katrina. Charles M. Merkel, Jr. and Charles M. Merkel, III represented the family’s interests at trial.

Two Verdicts in Five Days
Merkel & Cocke recently received two favorable verdicts in five days. The first verdict was in favor of homeowners against USAA Casualty Insurance Co. in a bad faith denial of insurance case. The second verdict was in favor of an Air Force veteran in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Client Struck by 18 Wheeler
In a case dealing with a trucking accident, our client was operating a truck in Benton County Mississippi on U.S. Highway 78. Our client was struck from the rear by an 18 wheel truck, causing his vehicle to crash. Our client received substantial injuries and died approximately 3 weeks later. The case settled for well over a million dollars.

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