2001 Sharp Award Recipients

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2001 Sharp Award Recipients 

Tennessee Attorney Joe Nicholson Recognized for Work on Firestone-Ford Litigation

Joe Nicholson, an attorney who has been practicing law in Tennessee for 27 years, was among those lawyers recently honored by the American Association for Justice (AAJ), at the organization’s annual convention in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, July 14-18.

Nicholson was among a group of attorneys recognized with AAJ’s Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award for their role in helping to substantially advance the knowledge of the Ford Explorer/Firestone Tire catastrophe that led to the recall of millions of Firestone Tires last August. Nicholson has been involved in Firestone-Ford litigation since July 1998.

These cases helped educate Americans about the need for safe products and truthful information from manufacturers; identified for lawmakers the value of regulation in promoting safety; and made clear to all the essential nature of the civil justice system in holding wrongdoers accountable.

AAJ President Fred Baron said, “The story of Firestone tires and Ford Explorer rollovers has received unprecedented attention. The experiences of our members’ clients have resonated with the American public and our political leaders, re-invigorating discussions about safety, secrecy in settlements, the public’s right to know, and the importance of preserving the civil justice system.”

Nicholson said, “I have found that the defects concerning these products have devastated the lives of my clients. The decisions of these companies concerning these products have obviously harmed consumers in Tennessee and across America.”

A graduate of the University of Tennessee Law School at Knoxville, Nicholson has offices in Maryville in Blount County and in Dandridge in Jefferson County. His firm, Joe Nicholson & Associates specializes in civil litigation.

The Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award, established in 1997, is given to those attorneys and their clients whose cases tell the story of American civil justice and help educate state and national policy makers and the public about the importance of consumers’ rights. The award is named for Steven Sharp of Richland, Oregon, who lost both arms in 1992 to a defective tractor hay baler.

Nicholson said most people in Tennessee do not know that there is a state law that is even more harsh than the previously proposed federal statute of repose. In Tennessee, people who are injured by products that are more than 10 years old are barred from seeking justice in court.

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