Merkel & Cocke, P.A.

Personal Injury Attorneys | Serving Clarksdale, MS

Free Consultation

Northern Mississippi Injury Lawyers
Over Two Decades of Experience

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 20 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.

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:

Vehicle Injuries:

  • Automobile Accidents
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Boat Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Drunk Driving Accidents
  • Semi-truck Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Bus Accidents
  • Airline Accidents

Serious Injuries:

  • Spinal Cord
  • Paralysis
  • Brain Injury
  • Joint Injuries
  • Gun Accidents
  • Dog Bites

Premise Liability Injuries:

  • Workplace Accidents
  • Slip and Fall
  • Structural Defects
  • Defective Stairs
  • Poorly Maintained Sidewalks

Product Liability:

  • Injuries Due to Unsafe and/or Defective Products
  • Injuries Due to Inadequate Labeling and Product Warning
  • Injuries Caused by Other Factors

Wrongful Death

Medical Malpractice

Call Merkel and Cocke, P.A. today at 866-304-2990 or 662-483-0788, or complete the contact form provided on this site to schedule a free consultation.

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


  • 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

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

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

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


  • 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 : 

  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, Lawdragon, and Super Lawyers

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


  • 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

William B. Raiford III - Partner

Bar Admissions: 

  • Mississippi, 1989
  • Tennessee, 1987
  • USDC WD Tenn, 1989
  • USDC Northern & Southern Districts, Mississippi, 1989
  • United States Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, 1989


  • Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, BSM Magna Cum Laude, 1984
  • University of Mississippi School of Law, Oxford, Mississippi, J.D. Cum Laude, 1987

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


  • 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

Charles M. Merkel, III - Partner

Born Clarksdale, Mississippi, April 5, 1973, admitted to bar, 1998, Mississippi; also admitted to practice before U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit; U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi. Preparatory education, University of Mississippi (B.A., summa cum laude, 1995; J.D., cum laude 1998). Fraternity: Taylor Medal Award Winner: English; Phi Kappa Phi; Chancellor’s Scholar; Phi Eta Sigma; Moot Court Board Member; Moot Court: “Best Written Brief Award,” 1996; Law Clerk to Hon. Henry T. Wingate, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi, 1998-99. Member: Coahoma County Bar Association; Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association (Currently on Board of Governors representing the 11th Judicial District); The Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Practice areas: Negligence, Medical Malpractice, Products Liability.

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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