WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Driving down Florida's highways, surfing the Internet or flipping through the Yellow Pages, one will not see a billboard or picture of Ted Babbitt in a suit, smiling and asking for business.
Babbitt & Johnson P.A, which is celebrating 50 years in business according to a news release, has built its personal injury and accident law practice on reputation, Babbitt told the Florida Record.
“We have been fortunate that the vast majority of our cases come from our reputation. Victims and their families really need to understand that the best lawyers are not always the ones doing the biggest advertising campaigns,” he said.
Babbitt said the firm’s partners handle every case themselves — they never farm out work to a less-experienced lawyer. And they take on cases only after careful consideration and investigation.
“That lets us devote the resources each case needs — and each victory demands,” he said. “Other lawyers are quick to settle, because that’s the easiest way for them to move on. We’ll go all the way to trial, if necessary. Because that’s the only way our client can move on. And that’s what makes us a different sort of law firm. Your best interests get our best efforts.”
Looking back on cases over the years, some have made a lasting mark on Babbitt.
In Keller v. Keller, rendered in 2008, Babbitt represented 13-year-old Fredchen Keller, whose father had shot and killed his mother just days after their divorce had been finalized. Fred Keller was a Palm Beach millionaire who killed his wife, Rosemarie, after she was awarded half of his real-estate fortune.
A $40 million wrongful-death verdict was reached in one hour on behalf of Fredchen.
Babbitt also settled a case for $27.2 million against the city of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn Inc., representing severely abused foster children.
“These children suffered unspeakable trauma — the most egregious injuries I’d seen in my half-century of practicing law,” Babbitt said. “The damages will not return the innocence of youth. I fought for them to help the victims avoid a nightmarish adulthood.”
In 1975, Babbitt was invited to join a group of lawyers call the Inner Circle of Advocates. Membership is by invitation only and limited to 100 plaintiff lawyers in the United States.
“The attorneys invited to this group are highly respected by their peers and judicious in handling courtroom litigation,” he said. “I have been a member for 42 years, one of the members — if not the member — with the longest membership. It’s one of the most helpful and awarding memberships to be a part of.”
Changes could be on the horizon as Babbitt starts his sixth decade in practice. With the Donald Trump presidency, he expects tort reform will limit or inhibit personal-injury cases. Driver negligence also could be impacted by driverless vehicles.
“Technology could really reduce the number of auto accidents. Newer cars with self-braking features can help reduce accidents, and self-driving cars could eliminate or limit driver negligence,” Babbitt said.