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.
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