Judge Kevin Sharp
Kevin Sharp is Co-Vice Chairman of Sanford Heisler Sharp and Co-Chair of the firm’s Public Interest Litigation Group. Prior to joining the firm, Kevin was nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama, confirmed unanimously by the Senate, and received his commission as a federal district court judge on May 3, 2011. Kevin served on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee from May 2011 to April 2017, including service from 2014 to 2017 as the court’s Chief Judge.
In his judicial role, Kevin handled many high-profile cases, including Young v. Giles County Board of Education, granting an injunction against school officials who prevented a student from wearing a shirt that read “Some People are Gay. Get Over It!,” and Rodriguez v. Providence Community Corrections, Inc., halting the practice of a private probation company, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, seeking to jail probationers when the only violation alleged was nonpayment of court costs and fines.
While on the bench, Kevin presided over more than 4,000 civil and criminal cases, including over thirty (30) putative or certified class/collective action cases. He conducted 75 trials and 60 contested evidentiary hearings concerning complex, multi-party commercial litigation, a variety of class action matters, ERISA disputes, copyright and patent litigation, criminal prosecutions, and claims of constitutional and civil rights violations.
Since joining the firm, Kevin has received multiple awards and recognitions. Most recently, he was recognized as a Trailblazer in The American Lawyer’s inaugural South Trailblazers. Additionally, he has been recognized by Lawdragon 500 Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyer (2020-21), Attorney for Justice, the Tennessee Supreme Court (2019), Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – South in the practice area of Labor & Employment (2018-2021), Nashville Business Journal’s Best of the Bar (2003, 2005-2009, 2019), “Mid-South Super Lawyers” (2007 – 2010), Best Lawyers in America – Recognized for work in the field of “Employment Law – Individuals” (2008-2010, 2020-2022), Listed as one of the Top 100 trial lawyers in American by the National Trial Lawyers Association; Awarded “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubbell.
Kevin has nearly 30 years of experience litigating and/or presiding over complex civil litigation cases, qui tam and whistleblower matters, products liability claims, malpractice cases, class action matters, ERISA claims, and civil rights and criminal matters.
Kevin’s representations include:
- Litigating on behalf of over 60 local governments in Virginia in their claims against dozens of the largest companies in the opioid supply chain, including drugmakers such as Purdue Pharma, drug distributors such as McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen, retail pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart, and pharmacy benefit managers such as Express Scripts, Optum Rx, and CVS/Caremark
- Representing the former Director of Contracts at Navistar who alleged that Navistar misrepresented its pricing structure to the DOD and overcharged the Government in the MRAP vehicle purchase, resulting in Navistar paying $50 million to settle this case in 2020
- Securing an $8.3 million arbitration verdict on behalf of the co-founder of a global semi-conductor company following his termination in Chen v. InnoGrit Corporation, et al.
- Securing a settlement of over $2 million on behalf of the former CEO of the Nashville airport following litigation of his claims of FMLA and disability discrimination in Wiggington v. Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, et al.
- Securing a settlement on behalf of hundreds of auto-workers in a class age discrimination claim against Volkswagen in Manlove v. Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, et al.
- Serving as class counsel for a certified class of current and former 401(k) plan participants in claims of fiduciary breach against Home Depot in Pizarro v. The Home Depot, Inc., et al.
- Litigating an ongoing class action on behalf of current and former 401(k) plan participants in claims of fiduciary breach against The Allstate Corporation and UnitedHealth Group in Cutrone v. The Allstate Corp. et al. and Snyder v. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., et al.
- Litigating as class counsel for current and former 401(k) plan participants in claims of fiduciary duty breach against Walgreen Co. resulting in a $13.75 million settlement in Brown-Davis, et al. v. Walgreen Co.
- Litigating as class counsel for current and former 401(k) plan participants in claims of fiduciary duty breach against TransAmerica Corp. resulting in a $5.4 million settlement, Karg v. Transamerica
- Litigating a False Claims Act case against Roche and Humana companies on behalf of a whistleblower who alleged that the defendants engaged in a kickback scheme, resulting in a settlement in excess of $12 million
Kevin received his law degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law and his undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Christian Brothers College.
A member of the Tennessee bar, Kevin was inducted as a Sustaining Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a Fellow of the Napier-Looby Bar Foundation (an affiliate chapter of The National Bar Association), and a Fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation. He previously served as Special Disciplinary Counsel to the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Kevin regularly speaks and participates on panels on federal litigation and Criminal Justice Reform. Among other news outlets, he has appeared on “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino” (Fox News); “Amanpour & Company” (CNN International); “CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin”; CBS News; and “PBS New Hour with Judy Woodruff.” Kevin has been a guest on multiple podcasts, including, “The Truth About True Crime with Amanda Knox”; “Criminal Injustice with Professor David Harris”; “Ready for Trial with Dana McLendon”; and “Peltier: Political Prisoner.” Kevin was the keynote speak at CATO Institute’s conference Criminal Justice at a Crossroads and was interviewed in the documentary “Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project.”
Kevin worked with Kim Kardashian to help secure Executive Clemency for Chris Young, a young man Kevin was required to sentence to life in prison for a non-violent drug offense due to draconian mandatory minimum sentencing laws. In January 2021, President Trump commuted Mr. Young’s sentence to “time served” and Kevin was at the airport to greet Young on his return to Nashville.
Since 2019, he has led a nationwide push to secure presidential clemency for Leonard Peltier, a 77-year-old Native American civil rights activist wrongly convicted in federal court and sentenced to two consecutive life terms for killing FBI agents at Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975. The U.S. Attorney’s office has since admitted it doesn’t know who killed the agents. In 2019 and 2020, Kevin also represented Tennessee death row inmate Nick Sutton’s request to the Governor to commute his death sentence to life in prison without parole. He is an Advisory Board member to the Tennessee Innocence Project and the Nashville, Tennessee Chapter of the American Constitution Society.
When Kevin is not lawyering, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and studying Native American history.
- J.D., Vanderbilt University School of Law
- B.S., Christian Brothers College, summa cum laude
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee – Chief Judge, October 2014 to April 2017; Judge, May 2011 to September 2014
- U.S. Congressional Office of Compliance, Attorney, Washington, DC, 1996-1997
- United States Navy, Petty Officer, Patrol Squadron 17, Barbers Point, HI, 1982-1986
- Drescher & Sharp, P.C., Nashville, TN, Shareholder, 2003-2011
- Stokes, Bartholomew, Evans & Petree, P.A., Nashville, TN – Member, Litigation Section; Co-Chair, Employment Law Group, 1997-2003; Associate Litigation, Federal and State, 1993-1996
- Tennessee, 1993
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
Memberships & Activities
- Sustaining Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation
- Fellow, Napier-Looby Bar Foundation
- Fellow, Nashville Bar Foundation
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Nashville Bar Association
- Member, Tennessee Bar Association
- Member, Federal Bar Association
- Member, National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA)
- Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law Class, 2005
- Board member, Tennessee Supreme Court Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, 2004-2009
- Member, TBPR Disciplinary Hearing Committee, 2000-2006
- Special Disciplinary Counsel to the Tennessee Supreme Court, 2001
- Former president, ALS Association, Tennessee Chapter (nonprofit organization dedicated to serving patients and families living with Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Volunteer Counsel, Jeanne A. Carpenter Epilepsy Legal Defense Fund, 2005-2010
- Former board member (2001-2004) and legal counsel (1994-2004), Girl Scout Council of Cumberland Valley
- The 2023 Lawdragon 500 Leading Civil Rights & Plaintiff Employment Lawyers
- 2023 Distinguished Leader, ALM/Law.com Southeastern Legal Awards
- 2021 Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – South in the practice area of Labor & Employment
- 2021 South Trailblazer, The American Lawyer
- 2020 Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – South in the practice area of Labor & Employment
- 2020-22 Lawdragon 500 Plaintiff Employment Lawyer
- 2019 Attorney for Justice, the Tennessee Supreme Court
- 2019 Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – South in the practice area of Labor & Employment
- 2018 Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – South in the practice area of Labor & Employment
- National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in Tennessee
- Nashville Business Journal’s Best of the Bar (2003, 2005-2009)
- “Mid-South Super Lawyers” (2007 – 2010)
- 2008–2010 and 2020-22 Best Lawyers in America – Recognized for work in the field of “Employment Law – Individuals”
- Included in Corporate Counsel magazine’s feature The 2009 Best Lawyers Annual Guide to Labor and Employment Law
- Awarded “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubbell
- Listed in Who’s Who in American Law
Courteous, honest, and empathetic
“I retained the legal services of Sanford Heisler Sharp earlier this year (2023). Their team of professionals were very courteous, honest and empathetic. Throughout my very difficult ordeal, they made me feel at ease with my decision to go forward with a legal remedy. As a result of their professional help, they were able to bring about a very satisfactory resolution to my legal claims! I highly recommend Sanford Heisler Sharp.”
– Former Client
I highly recommend them.
“Kaitlin Leary, Leigh Anne St. Charles, and Kevin Sharp went above and beyond to guide and support me through a legal matter. They always came prepared, listened, showed the utmost care and professionalism, and solved the issues at hand. Having Kaitlin, Leigh Anne, and Kevin in my corner during a life changing situation allowed me to remain calm with paths to move forward. I highly recommend them and their firm.”
– Former Client
Passionate Care for Justice.
“As a client of Sanford Heisler Sharp, I had the opportunity of working with its attorneys at multiple locations: Ms. Ella Zheng . . . (in San Francisco), Ms. Leigh Anne St. Charles and Messrs. Kevin Sharp and Jonathan Tepe (in Nashville), and Mr. Andrew Melzer (in New York). Collectively the SHS team represented the highest level of professionalism, integrity, and passionate care for justice that I have ever witnessed in my career.
Like many individual plaintiffs, I was faced with a corporate defendant that was much more resourceful. The SHS team never showed any hesitation in representing me or wavered in their resolution to right the wrong. The attorneys and assistants worked through maternity, coronavirus infection, over-night depositions and many other challenges for nearly three years to ultimately deliver a resounding success!
I am forever indebted to Sanford Heisler Sharp's‘s perseverance and kindness. Last three years were such a lifetime experience that I will never forget.”
– David Chen
The natural choice in representation.
“Words cannot adequately express my gratitude to Kevin Sharp and the Sanford Heisler Sharp team in Nashville. Their sound guidance, disciplined approach, expertise and overall dedication to my well-being resulted in a settlement that allowed me to leave a toxic workplace environment involving sexual harassment, discrimination, and an unwillingness to address bad behavior.
Knowing their expertise, track record and unwavering commitment to fighting issues in the workplace, Sanford Heisler Sharp was the natural choice in representation. Not only did they help me in achieving a successful settlement, but they also delivered a message to my former employer, a large multi-national corporation, that unequal treatment and harassment of female employees is unlawful, unacceptable, and, if continued, will result in significant financial and brand reputation consequences.
One should never find themselves a victim of harassment and discrimination in the workplace; however, if you do, it would serve you well to have Sanford Heisler Sharp on your side.”
– Former Client
They’re not only first rate attorneys and legal team, but genuinely good people to work with.
“Sanford Heisler and Sharp were my attorneys and I am so grateful they were. They were genuinely concerned for me and my family’s success in a work related legal matter. They kept me informed and educated me on options and concerns during the process. They never made a decision or took an action without discussing it with me and getting approval to do so. They made a difficult situation much easier to go through and helped us when many said no. My family and I are very grateful to the SHS team and would recommend them to anyone. They’re not only first rate attorneys and legal team, but genuinely good people to work with.”
– Tommy Bibb
This class action accuses the fiduciaries of UnitedHealth’s 401(k) plan of violating their fiduciary duties under ERISA by keeping one of the worst-performing target date investment options in the entire market, the Wells Fargo Target Fund Suite, as the plan’s default investment for over a decade.
Sanford Heisler Sharp is currently evaluating whether Allstate mismanaged its 401(k) plan.
The Relator’s Complaint alleges that in 2013 Roche paid Humana a kickback in exchange for Humana placing Roche’s diabetes testing products on its Medicare Advantage formularies.
The German automakers’ “Pact for the Future” labor campaign eliminates 7,000 jobs in the Americas primarily held by workers born between 1955 and 1960.
The Complaint alleges that Navistar used false and misleading documents to support alleged “commercial prices” of vehicle components, including the chassis, engines, and suspension systems.
Fauquier County, Virginia, filed the lawsuit in state court against more than 15 opioid manufacturers, distributors, and PBMs.
Montgomery County filed the lawsuit in state court against more than 15 opioid manufacturers, distributors, and PBMs — including pharmaceutical titan Purdue Pharma and worldwide distributor McKesson.
The complaint alleges the company invests employees’ retirement savings in multiple funds that consistently underperform their investment benchmarks and other similar collective investment funds.
Lee County and the City of Norton filed the lawsuit in state court against more than 15 opioid manufacturers, distributors, and PBMs — including pharmaceutical titan Purdue Pharma and worldwide distributor McKesson.
The Complaint on behalf of InnoGrit’s co-founder Yuhui (David) Chen alleges breach of contract, promissory fraud, retaliation, wrongful termination, and shareholder direct and derivative claims.
The Complaint alleges MNAA refused to allow former President and CEO Robert Wigington to resume his job duties and responsibilities when he returned to work after recovering from liver transplant surgery.
Martinsville and Henry County filed the lawsuit in state court against more than 15 opioid manufacturers, distributors, and PBMs — including pharmaceutical titan Purdue Pharma and worldwide distributor McKesson.
Norton Rose Fulbright/Chadbourne & Parke LLP Gender Discrimination Class Action – $3.1 Million Settlement
According to Plaintiff Kerrie Campbell, a nationally recognized trial lawyer and partner in Chadbourne’s Washington, DC office, female partners at the firm are excluded from positions of decision-making authority and receive less pay and bonuses even when they out-perform their male counterparts. There is only a one-tier partnership, with every partner characterized as an equity partner.
According to the complaint, Home Depot has selected multiple poorly-performing funds for its 401(k) plan, allowed investment advisers to charge its employees unreasonable fees, and turned a blind eye to a kickback scheme between an investment adviser and the plan’s recordkeeper.
Page County filed the lawsuit in state court against more than 15 opioid manufacturers, distributors, and PBMs — including pharmaceutical titan Purdue Pharma and worldwide distributor McKesson.
The Complaint asserts that GE and the Plan violated the Federal Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA) by breaching their fiduciary duties and engaging in prohibited transactions and unlawful self-dealing detrimental to the three named plaintiffs individually and as representatives of a class.
- From Across the Bench, Best Lawyers, August 16, 2023
- Distinguished Leaders: Kevin Sharp (Q&A), Law.com, June 19, 2023
- Sanford Heisler Appeals Equifax $77M Atty Fee Share Suit Nix, Law360, March 24, 2023
- Advocates urging for Leonard Peltier’s release, Scripps News, February 6, 2023 (video)
- FBI’s opposition to releasing Leonard Peltier driven by vendetta, says ex-agent, The Guardian, January 18, 2023
- On Leonard Peltier’s 78th Birthday, It is Time for Biden to Free Him, Native News Online, September 11, 2022
- U.N. Human Rights Legal Experts Call For Immediate Release Of Leonard Peltier, Huffpost, July 25, 2022
- The FBI Says It Still Opposes Leonard Peltier’s Freedom. Its Argument Is Full Of Holes, Huffpost, April 20, 2022
- Supporters Seek Clemency for Native American Activist Convicted in Killings, The New York Times, February 26, 2022
- Leonard Peltier – America’s Longest Political Prisoner, RT, January 6, 2017
- Massive Walgreens Worker Class Inks $13.75M 401(k) Deal, Law360, October 25, 2021
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Announces an $8.3 Million Arbitration Award in Co-Founder Dispute Case Against InnoGrit Corporation, Shanghai InnoGrit, and InnoGrit CEO, October 05, 2021
- The American Lawyer Trailblazers – 2021 South, October 04, 2021
- Eight Sanford Heisler Sharp Attorneys Listed In 2022 Best Lawyers, August 19, 2021
- Home Depot, Workers Both Seek Early Win In 401(k) Class Suit, Law360, July 13, 2021
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Files Motion For Summary Judgment Against Home Depot For Mismanagement Of Its 401k Plan, GlobeNewswire, July 13, 2021
- Transamerica Inks $5.4M Deal To Settle ERISA Class Action, Law360, June 23, 2021
- Allstate Says Employees In ERISA Suit ‘Lost Nothing’, Law360, June 10, 2021
- Navistar Settles Marine Corps Fraud Case For $50M, Law360, May 27, 2021
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Announces $50 Million Settlement In False Claims Act Case Against Navistar Defense and Navistar International, May 27, 2021
- Did an innocent man die? Ledell Lee and a questionable Arkansas death sentence, May 25, 2021
- National Civil Rights Museum and FAMM Host Journey to Justice Virtual Screening and Panel on Trial Penalty, GlobeNewswire, March 10, 2021
- How Kim Kardashian, fmr. Pres. Trump and a team of civil rights attorneys freed Chris Young, NewsNation, March 09, 2021
- Humana, Roche Settle False Claims Act Lawsuit, Agree to Pay $12.5M, GlobeNewswire, February 08, 2021
- Whistleblower Gets $3.6M In FCA Deal With Roche, Humana, Law360, February 08, 2021
- Humana settles False Claims Act lawsuit for $12.5M, Louisville Business First, February 08, 2021
- Humana And Roche Settle False Claims Act Lawsuit For $12.5 Million, February 8th, 2021
- This former prisoner had an unlikely supporter: the judge who sentenced him, CNN, February 1, 2021
- Chris Young reunites with former judge, advocate, NewsChannel5 Nashville, January 21, 2021
- Benchmark Litigation Reviews – Sanford Heisler Sharp, October 15th, 2020
- Enforcement, legality of mask mandates, WKRN.com, July 07, 2020
- Kim Kardashian’s ‘Justice Project’ shows how youngsters get harsh sentences due to a law that insults judges, Meaww, April 05, 2020
- The Execution of Nick Sutton, Nashville Scene, February 21, 2020