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Labor and employment Star

Practice area:

Labor and employment

Judge Kevin Sharp is the Managing Partner of Sanford Heisler Sharp’s Nashville office. He joined the firm after serving as a judge on the U.S District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee from May 2011 through April 2017, including service from 2014 to 2017 as the court’s Chief Judge. 

In his judicial role, Judge Sharp 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!”; 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; and Marshall v. ESPN, Inc., et al., a case garnering national attention addressing the right of publicity by college athletes. 

Judge Sharp is presently lead counsel in the General Electric ERISA Class Action in which the plaintiffs assert GE and the Plan violated the Federal Employee Retirement Security Act by breaching their fiduciary duties and engaging in prohibited transactions and unlawful self-dealing detrimental to the named plaintiffs and the class. Additionally, he is lead counsel in two other Class Action ERISA cases, against Home Depot and Walgreens, that similarly assert violations of the Federal Employee Retirement Security Act by the respective companies. Judge Sharp served as co-lead counsel in Gann v. Nissan North America, Inc., a nationwide consumer class action alleging faulty transmission. 

Judge Sharp was lead counsel in an age discrimination collective action against Volkswagen of America and VW AG filed in the federal district court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. He also represents more than sixty Virginia localities, including the City of Martinsville, the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County, Roanoke County, Prince William County, Arlington County, Dickenson County, and Loudoun County in opioid lawsuits that were the first in the Commonwealth of Virginia in pursuing legal action against opioid manufacturers, distributors, retailers and pharmacy benefit managers. In addition to these complex pieces of litigation, Judge Sharp recently secured a $2 million settlement as part of an individual wrongful termination lawsuit brought against the Metro Nashville Airport by the Airport’s former President and CEO. 

Judge Sharp leads the effort to gain clemency for American Indian Movement activist, Leonard Peltier, who has been in prison for 46 years. Peltier was unconstitutionally convicted of murder in the deaths of two federal agents for the 1975 tragedy at the Pine Ridge Reservation. 

He advocated directly with the President on behalf of Chris Young, the man Sharp had sentenced to life in prison because of mandatory minimum sentencing requirements. Young was granted clemency and released from prison in January 2021. 

Currently Judge Sharp is working with several national organizations on criminal justice and sentencing reform issues and is an Advisory Board member with the Tennessee Innocence Project. 

Updated September 2021