Ted A. Corless
At Corless Barfield Trial Group, our firm brings extensive experience and a unique approach to each case we handle. Recognized as one of the leading insurance litigation lawyers in Florida, founding attorney Ted A. Corless formerly represented some of the most powerful insurance companies in the state and currently uses that inside experience to assist property owners and personal injury victims in recovering compensation for their losses.
Corless routinely shares his experience and knowledge by authoring articles, giving television interviews and presenting lectures throughout the United States on a range of legal topics, including insurance coverage, complex expert testimony and insurance bad faith. He is licensed to practice law in Florida, Kansas and Missouri and has received an AV peer review rating* through the Martindale-Hubbell system. Further, Corless is a member of the American Society of Trial Consultants.
Learn More About Ted Corless
Corless has handled dozens of sinkhole property damage trials for property owners in the Tampa area since 1998. These disputes include (but are not limited to): damages associated with sinkhole, windstorm, fire, and water. In his current capacity, he represents owners of homes, apartment buildings, commercial buildings, and condominiums in insurance claims and disputes.
He has authored and presented lectures throughout the United States on a wide variety of topics including insurance coverage, complex expert testimony, and insurance bad faith. Corless is licensed to practice law in Florida, Kansas, and Missouri, as well as several Federal District Courts and Federal Appellate Courts, and he is ranked “AV” by the Martindale-Hubbell® system for being recognized by his peers as having the highest level of excellence and professionalism.
Summary of Experience
Ted Corless has a broad range of litigation experience including first-chair jury trial experience in matters relating to commercial litigation, environmental law, construction law, bodily injury, advertising injury, products liability, and insurance coverage litigation. He is a lecturer in development and cross-examination of expert witnesses in a wide variety of scientific, engineering, and medical-related matters.
Corless has also served as lead counsel in jury-tried cases, as well as bench-tried and arbitration disputes. He’s provided active audit support to insurers regarding statutory compliance and drafting of policy language. Finally, he has deposed and cross examined expert witnesses in various fields, some of which include: architectural design, cardiology, civil engineering, economics, epidemiology, fire cause and origin, geotechnical engineering, geophysics, hydrogeology, internal medicine, oncology, orthopedics, otolaryngology, pathology, psychiatry, pulmonology, seismology, and toxicology.
“Lawyers are like oncologists. You’d prefer they not be in your life. But if they are, they better be dependable, honest, and know what the hell they are doing.” – Ted Corless, 2004
Prior to creating his own firm in 2002, Corless spent nearly a decade fighting for some of the largest companies in America. He trained at Shook Hardy, an international law firm infamous for its vigorous representation of Big Tobacco. Shook Hardy triggered his passion for scientific and medical-related litigation. “When I later got into insurance litigation – working on sinkhole, hurricane, and fire cases – I knew I was hooked.”
The 'Non-Lawyer' Lawyer
Although Corless was on track to being a partner at these big firms, something was missing.
“I left all the law firms that did it the traditional way,” he says. “I wanted to create a practice where, if my family needed a lawyer, it would be the kind of place where we could find answers.”
Much of what makes Corless tick comes from his upbringing in a small northwest Missouri town. He started his practice in the Midwest and brings those values to his firm today.
Part of that approach means not taking every case. Instead, his firm limits itself to spending time on the cases that deserve the attention and care only Corless Associates can provide.
“I like to tell people we represented Big Tobacco, Big Insurance, and now we represent Big You.”
Corless points out having a bunch of clients just means you do a good job marketing. “Telling the world you will ‘aggressively’ represent someone says nothing about legal talent, experience, or what you can deliver as a law firm. Documented experience – not angry rhetoric – is what our clients are looking for, and it’s what we deliver.”
Corless realizes the importance and significance of what he does every day for the clients he does take on – how the suggestions he offers or the decisions he makes impact people’s lives. At the same time, giving people a voice to fight back is what drives him.
“Whether we’re fighting on a sinkhole case or a personal injury matter, the case is our client’s most important one. I tell my staff, we might have other work, but this is our client’s only case, and never forget that.”
The Corless Family
Corless and his wife, Christine, spent four years waiting for their adoption to be completed. “You start thinking it will never happen.” But, in 2009, they traveled to the Hunan Province of China, bringing little Thea home. “She is an amazing kid, and I think she has Elmo in every size and form ever made.”
He’s a devotee of Cajun Creole cooking. “I don’t get to cook as much as I like, but when I do, I guarantee it will be spicy.” For Super Bowl, you can expect Shrimp Creole, Crawfish Etouffee, and lots of BBQ at the Corless home.
Areas of Practice
- Business & Commercial Law
- Natural Resources Law
- Construction Law
- Commercial Litigation
- Environmental Law
- Bodily Injury
- Advertising Injury
- Products Liability
- Insurance Coverage Litigation
- 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
- Missouri, 1995
- Kansas, 1996
- Florida, 1999
- U.S. District Court Western District of Missouri, 1995
- U.S. District Court District of Kansas, 1996
- U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1999
- U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit, 2000
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 1999
- University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, Kansas City, Missouri
- J.D. – 1995
- Honors: National Order of Barristers
- Honors: Top 20% in graduating class
- Honors: American Jurisprudence Award – Legal Research and Writing
- Honors: Recipient, Wilbur L. Pollard UMKC LAW REVIEW Honor Award
- Honors: Recipient, Thomas E. Deacy Trial Advocacy Award
- Law Review: UMKC Law Review, Managing Editor
- University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
- B.A. – May, 1989
- Major: Political Science
- Minor: Physical Anthropology
- Bonin v. Vannaman, et. al., 261 Kan. 199, 929 P.2d 754 (Kansas Supreme Court 1996)
- Lininger v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., 958 F.Supp 519 (D. Kan 1997)
- Fred and Linda Jones v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company
- Authur Dunn v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company
- Magdalene Court Condominium Association, Inc. v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company
- Park Place Condominium Association of Tampa, Inc. v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company
- Vasilia Zifos v. St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church
- Velma Harner v. David Thome, et al.
- Timothy Boling v. Barbara Gobel, et al.
- Preiner v. Harris
- Lillian Sams v. Robert Cattarius, et al.
- Darwin Barrios v. Chester and Donna Berry
- State Farm Florida Insurance Company v. the Little White Wedding Chapel
- Home Design Services, Inc. v. Drafting Design Services, Inc.
- State Farm Insurance Companies v. Gerrity, 968 P.2d 270 (Kan. App. 1998)
- State Farm Fire & Casualty Company v. Arthur Dunn, et al.
- Gary Phillips, et al. v. Schmidt Brothers Executive Homes, Inc.
- Cypress Property & Casualty Company v. Vincent McCoy, et al.
- Frank and Marilyn Copeland v. Federated National Ins. Company
- State Farm Florida Insurance Company v. Joan Guilfoyle et al.
- Tiger Ranch Cattle Company, LLC, et al. v. Lightsey Cattle Company, Inc., et al
- In re John Doe v. St. Johns Insurance Company
- In re Jane Doe v. St. Johns Insurance Company
- State Farm Florida Insurance Company
- Nationwide Insurance Company of Florida
- Florida Family Insurance Company
- Cypress Property & Casualty Company
- St. Johns Insurance Company
- Allstate Floridian Insurance Company
- MetLife Insurance Company
- Cardel Master Builders
- Philip Morris Corporation
- Eugene D. Brown Real Estate Company
- HBW Insurance Company
- Nelco Construction, Inc.
- Lightsey Cattle Company
- American Century Investors
- “Recent Developments in ‘Other Insurance’ Coverage Disputes”, State Farm Insurance Company, Claim Specialist Staff, Overland Park, Kansas, 1997
- “Deposing Complex Scientific and Medical Expert Witnesses: Strategy and Law”, Continuing Legal Education Program, In-House Program, Carlton Fields Law Firm, Tampa, Florida, 1999
- “Strategic and Tactical Methods for Limiting Expert Witness Testimony”, American Bar Association Meeting, Construction Law Subcommittee, Seattle, Washington, 2000
- “Risk Management for the Middle Level Manager”, American Heart Association, Area Executive Director Seminar, Tampa, Florida, 2000
- “Legal Risk Management for Property Managers”, National Property Management Association, Tampa, Florida, 2000
- “Public Access to Defibrillation: A Public Safety Issue”, American Heart Association, Board of Executive Directors, Tampa, Florida, 2001
- “Mold Lawsuits: The Asbestos Litigation of the New Millennium”, HBW Insurance Seminar, Tampa, Florida, 2002
- “Sinkhole 101: Sinkhole Claims and Litigation in a Nutshell”, 2006
- Guest Speaker, “Defending Your Life: Survival Techniques for the Ethical Adjuster”, HSA Engineer and Scientists, Seminar on Insurance Practice, 2007
- Guest Speaker, “First-Party Insurance Litigation: The Final Frontier?”, 2007
Honors and Awards
- Willard L. Pollard Law Review Honor Award
- Thomas E. Deacy Trial Practice Award
- National Finalist, Association of Trial Lawyers of America Trial Advocacy Competition, 1995
- Regional Champion, A.T.L.A. Trial Competition, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Barrister, William Glenn Terrell Inn of Court
- National Order of Barristers
- REV 08-04
- American Society of Trial Consultants
- National Institute of Trial Advocacy
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Florida Bar Association, Member
- Missouri Bar Association, Member
- Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Member
- Kansas Bar Association, Member
- Johnson County Bar Association, Member
- American Bar Association, Member, Young Lawyers Division
- Defense Research Institute
- Ross T. Roberts Inn of Court, Member
- William Glenn Terrel Inn of Court
Past Employment Positions
- Shook Hardy & Bacon, LLP, Attorney
- Carlton Fields Ward Emmanuel Smith & Cutler, P.A., Attorney