Photo of Allen "Teeto" E.  Graham
"I prepare every case as if we were going to trial. No question about it, a better settlement is achieved by having cases ready to try."

Teeto Graham grew up around construction and shipyards in his home city of Pascagoula, Mississippi, and he knew early on that was where he wanted to focus his law practice. Informed by a degree in engineering and a masters in Admiralty and Maritime Law, Teeto has the industry experience and insight to unravel complex commercial litigation resulting from everything from contract claims to product liability cases and construction disputes.

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Teeto Graham grew up around construction and shipyards in his home city of Pascagoula, Mississippi, and he knew early on that was where he wanted to focus his law practice. Informed by a degree in engineering and a masters in Admiralty and Maritime Law, Teeto has the industry experience and insight to unravel complex commercial litigation resulting from everything from contract claims to product liability cases and construction disputes.

Working with clients in all aspects of marine, energy and construction businesses, Teeto handles bet-the-company cases involving huge numbers and complex causation issues. His experience speaks to a range of industries including:

  • Shipping
  • Vessel construction and operation
  • Contractors and specialty contractors
  • Insurance companies
  • Engineering firms
  • Product manufacturers
  • Banks.

Teeto advises on all manner of commercial disputes, including injury and wrongful death, construction defect claims, bankruptcy and creditors' rights, and product and professional liability. He represents clients at all levels of federal and state courts, from pre-trial through appeal if necessary.

Because Teeto knows his clients' business from the inside out, he provides valuable counsel on the best way to reduce risk, whether through arbitration, mediation, settlement, dispositive motions or all-out courtroom warfare. A direct and honest negotiator, he identifies and focuses on the pay dirt issues that resolve disputes efficiently and protect the bottom line.

Experience

  • Defended insured in a wrongful death lawsuit that reduced an international product manufacturer’s liability from eight figures to six.
  • Defended a general contractor in a court-conducted settlement conference significantly reducing its liability for allegedly installing a project outside the plans and specs.
  • Obtained summary judgments and directed verdict for banking client against several defendants/counter plaintiffs in a $16 million case brought by the lender on a marina and condominium project.
  • On behalf of a commercial fishing operation, employed McCorpen doctrine to reduce a seven-figure personal injury claim under the Jones Act to a five-figure settlement.
  • In AAA mediation over a claim of a defective installation and construction in a large-scale project, trimmed a seven-figure claim against a specialty contractor to six figures.
  • When plaintiffs proposed ground-penetrating radar as an alternative to core drilling to investigate construction site claims, successfully used expert testimony to show that the data would be unreliable for the application.
  • Obtained arbitrator’s defense verdict for boat broker on fraud claims in AAA arbitration over used vessel sales/purchase transaction.
  • Negotiated shipbuilding contracts in multiple vessel construction programs.
  • Eliminated excess exposure for insured in multi-claimant litigation over barge explosion on Mobile River.
  • Reduced exposure for excess carrier in product liability claim over vessel’s alleged propulsion system engine defect by $10 million.
  • Prosecute vessel owner’s third party claims against vessel’s sub-component manufacturer in relation to an allision to settlement.
  • Following jury trial verdict for vessel owner on counterclaims, eliminated liability for admitted violation of regulation in post trial settlement of vessel collision dispute.

Insights

Publications
  • Conservation Easements: Preserving the Environment and the Family Estate (December 2013) Author
  • The Equal Footing Doctrine: Mapping Tidal Boundaries (November 2013) Author
  • Tidal and Navigable Waters (November 2013) Author
  • Tide Waters and Navigable Waters (November 2013) Author
  • ‘Maritime Employee' Compensation Exposure (October 2013) Author
  • Rules of the Road and the ‘Pennsylvania Rule' (October 2013) Author
  • Marine Salvage (October 2013) Author
  • Vessel Liability (October 2013) Author
  • A Corporation - To Be or Not To Be? (October 2013) Author
  • Admiralty Contract Jurisdiction (September 2013) Author
  • Dram Shop Exposure (September 2013) Author
  • Is Your Vessel Seaworthy? (September 2013) Author
  • Seaman: Wards of the Court (September 2013) Author
  • Simple Mistakes Can Lead to Costly Consequences (August 2013) Author
News

Memberships & Affiliations

Professional

  • The Alabama Bar
  • The Mississippi Bar
  • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute - Secretary (2011), Treasurer (2010), Past Port Director, Past Presenter, Past Long Range Planning Committee Member, Past Editor in Chief of Editorial Board
  • Maritime Law Association - Proctor
  • Counsel for Litigation Management
  • Manufacture Alabama

Civic

  • Propeller Club of Mobile
  • Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution - Registered Mediator

Recognition

  • Admiralty and Maritime Law (2010-2020), Commercial Litigation (2020), The Best Lawyers in America
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers list (2008-2019), Top 50 Alabama Super Lawyers list (2013), Super Lawyers 

Industries

Education

  • Tulane University Law School
    LL.M. in Admiralty and Maritime Law, 1991
  • Tulane University Law School
    J.D., 1990
  • University of Alabama
    B.S. in Engineering, 1988

Admissions

  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi
  • Defended insured in a wrongful death lawsuit that reduced an international product manufacturer’s liability from eight figures to six.
  • Defended a general contractor in a court-conducted settlement conference significantly reducing its liability for allegedly installing a project outside the plans and specs.
  • Obtained summary judgments and directed verdict for banking client against several defendants/counter plaintiffs in a $16 million case brought by the lender on a marina and condominium project.
  • On behalf of a commercial fishing operation, employed McCorpen doctrine to reduce a seven-figure personal injury claim under the Jones Act to a five-figure settlement.
  • In AAA mediation over a claim of a defective installation and construction in a large-scale project, trimmed a seven-figure claim against a specialty contractor to six figures.
  • When plaintiffs proposed ground-penetrating radar as an alternative to core drilling to investigate construction site claims, successfully used expert testimony to show that the data would be unreliable for the application.
  • Obtained arbitrator’s defense verdict for boat broker on fraud claims in AAA arbitration over used vessel sales/purchase transaction.
  • Negotiated shipbuilding contracts in multiple vessel construction programs.
  • Eliminated excess exposure for insured in multi-claimant litigation over barge explosion on Mobile River.
  • Reduced exposure for excess carrier in product liability claim over vessel’s alleged propulsion system engine defect by $10 million.
  • Prosecute vessel owner’s third party claims against vessel’s sub-component manufacturer in relation to an allision to settlement.
  • Following jury trial verdict for vessel owner on counterclaims, eliminated liability for admitted violation of regulation in post trial settlement of vessel collision dispute.
Publications
  • Conservation Easements: Preserving the Environment and the Family Estate (December 2013) Author
  • The Equal Footing Doctrine: Mapping Tidal Boundaries (November 2013) Author
  • Tidal and Navigable Waters (November 2013) Author
  • Tide Waters and Navigable Waters (November 2013) Author
  • ‘Maritime Employee' Compensation Exposure (October 2013) Author
  • Rules of the Road and the ‘Pennsylvania Rule' (October 2013) Author
  • Marine Salvage (October 2013) Author
  • Vessel Liability (October 2013) Author
  • A Corporation - To Be or Not To Be? (October 2013) Author
  • Admiralty Contract Jurisdiction (September 2013) Author
  • Dram Shop Exposure (September 2013) Author
  • Is Your Vessel Seaworthy? (September 2013) Author
  • Seaman: Wards of the Court (September 2013) Author
  • Simple Mistakes Can Lead to Costly Consequences (August 2013) Author
News

Professional

  • The Alabama Bar
  • The Mississippi Bar
  • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute - Secretary (2011), Treasurer (2010), Past Port Director, Past Presenter, Past Long Range Planning Committee Member, Past Editor in Chief of Editorial Board
  • Maritime Law Association - Proctor
  • Counsel for Litigation Management
  • Manufacture Alabama

Civic

  • Propeller Club of Mobile
  • Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution - Registered Mediator
  • Admiralty and Maritime Law (2010-2020), Commercial Litigation (2020), The Best Lawyers in America
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers list (2008-2019), Top 50 Alabama Super Lawyers list (2013), Super Lawyers