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Ted M. Warshafsky

Ted M. Warshafsky
Status: Deceased

(1926 - 2012)

Ted Warshafsky thought he wanted to be a farmer until he found a career in the law. He was a courtroom natural. Maybe it was the Marine in him, or growing up poor in Chicago. He knew he was made to be a trial lawyer. He was willing to fight and would go the extra mile for all his clients. It has been said that, "He'd bleed for his clients."

In 1976, Ted won what was then the biggest personal injury lawsuit verdict in Wisconsin state history - $3.3 million in a case involving a teenage girl who suffered brain damage in a car crash blamed on a faulty GM part. GM appealed and later agreed on a $3 million settlement. In 1987 Ted obtained another major victory of $15 million against Wyeth Laboratories, makers of the DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus) vaccine, brought on behalf of a couple whose daughter was brain-damaged by the vaccine. It was said that to watch Ted cross-examine a witness was a joy. He had a sort of folksy approach, but it belied somebody who was smart as a whip and completely prepared.

Ted's need to make things right led to a role in the Eugene McCarthy presidential campaign. Drawn to McCarthy's stand on civil rights and the Vietnam War, he became vice chairman of his campaign. During the volatile 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago which was marked by bloody riots, Wisconsin delegate Ted was thrust into giving a nomination speech for a young African American representative from Georgia, Julian Bond, as a vice presidential candidate. The McCarthy delegation had just minutes to make the nomination which was largely symbolic since Bond was too young, at 28, to serve. Someone noted that Ted was a trial attorney, and there he was at the podium. The microphone was turned off before another Wisconsin delegate could 2nd the nomination.

Ted left a legacy of activism that was more than just "sitting around drinking cocktails and saying, 'Isn't it terrible.'"
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