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Steven J. Sharp Award
Steven J. Sharp Award

Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award

The Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award is presented annually to those attorneys and 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.

Who Is Steven J. Sharp?

The award is named for Steven J. Sharp of Richland, Oregon, who lost both arms in 1992 to a defective tractor hay baler when he was 17 years old. The tractor manufacturer knew one person had been mangled, and another decapitated, by this defectively designed product. Yet, company executives did nothing, even though a small 70-cent part would have fixed the problem. For 70 cents, Steven could still have his arms. At the time of Steven's case, legislation was pending that would have barred him from taking his case against the manufacturer to court. He spoke out to show lawmakers how legislation to limit access to the courts would deprive people like him of justice.  Steven's case had a positive effect on Capitol Hill and ultimately helped convince President Clinton to veto this unfair legislation. What happened to Steven shouldn't happen to anyone else. But if it does, they should have a chance to seek justice too.

2001 Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award - David P. Willis Attorney - Houston, Texas

David P. Willis, an attorney who has been practicing law in Texas for 25+ years, was among those lawyers honored by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America ATLA, at the organization's annual convention in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, July 14, 2001

Willis 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.

ATLA 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."

Willis said, " The combination of defective tires on a unstable and rollover prone vehicle is too much for the average driver to deal with in an emergency situation. As a lawyer I get tired of seeing lives lost, families destroyed and lifetime of hurt and disabilities for victims of dangerous products. It is especially troubling when safer product designs were available at little if any additional cost in the first place. It is only through filing suit against these wrongdoers that we can make a change for safer products in the future and try and compensate those whose lives have been destroyed.

Ford Firestone Case

In 1997, Mr. Willis was involved in one of the nation's first Firestone ATX Radial Tread / Belt Separation and Ford Explorer rollover cases which occurred in Texas. A products liability lawsuit was filed in 1998 against Ford and Firestone due to the Ford Explorer going out of control and rolling after the back left Firestone ATX radial tire's tread came off. After a long battle with Ford and Firestone a very significant confidential settlement was reached by all parties. On July 17, 2001 Mr. Willis was recognized as one of a very select group of products liability attorneys in the nation and was awarded the prestigious Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award for his contributions in investigating and gathering evidence pertaining to tire belt separation and vehicle rollovers in Firestone Tire and Ford Explorer Cases.

Willis Background

Willis is a graduate of Baylor University in Waco, Texas and the South Texas College of Law in Houston. After law school, Willis was selected as a small handful to be a a briefing attorney on the Supreme Court of Texas in Austin and since 1985 has been actively representing injured workers and victims of defective and dangerous products, drugs and victims of negligence & gross negligent conduct of others. Willis is licensed in Texas and New York and maintains a national practice. The efforts by these selected attorneys and others helped lead to the largest recall in U.S. history.

Products with Benzene Exposure:
Jet Fuel and Aviation Fuel
Solvents and Degreasers used by automotive mechanics
Bulk refined petroleum products on barges
Denture Adhesives (some)
Brake Cleaning Products
Engine and turbine workers
Paint Thinners and Solvents House painters
Solvents in Industrial plants
Barge Products Maritime workers
Newspaper Print Chemicals
Solvents and Drilling Fluids
Synthetic rubber

Other Benzene Containing Products:
WD 40 Solvent Spray
Liquid Wrench Degreaser
Rust-Ban 392
Sunoco Household Oil
3-In-One Electric Motor Oil
Creosote Lumber
Creosote Railroad Ties
3-In-One Household Oil
Gardner Blacktop Driveway Sealer
Gardner EZ STIR Filler Sealer
Parks Furniture Refinisher
Parks Adhesive Remover
Parks Mineral Spirits Paint Thinner
Parks Lacquer Thinner
Parks Brush Cleaner
Parks PRO liquid Paint Stripper
Parks liquid Strip
Parks Lacquer Thinner 6/13/97
Parks Adhesive Remover 9/4/98
Parks liquid Deglosser 9/4/98
Gumoutregane Premium Gas Treatment
Gumoutxtra 1 Tank Carb Cleaner
Gumouttune Up Spray
Gumoutcarb/Fuel Injector Cleaner (Aerosol)
Gumoutcarb/Fuel Injector Cleaner (liquid)
Gumoutdiesel Fuel System Cleaner
Gumoutcold Weather Diesel Treatment
Gumoutliquid Intake Cleaner
Champion Carb. Cleaner
Champion Flush Off Degreaser
Champion Brake Cleaner
Champion Cold Galvanize
Champion Galv Off
Champion CS+
Champion N/F 4 Way Penetrating Oil
Champion Stainless Steel Cleaner
Champion X It Out Vandal Mark Remover
Champion Super Lubricant
Champion Spray Paint
Champion Flying Insect Killer
Champion Fire Ant Killer
Champion Multi Insect/lice Killer
Champion Indoor Insect Fogger
Champion Ant & Roach
Champion Metered Insecticide
Bonide Grass, Weed & Vegetation Killer
Ortho Weed-B-Gone
Staffel's Screwwork Compound-U.S.
Martin's Formula No. 62 Screw Work Smear for Horses and Mules
Thoroseal Redi Mix Paint
VM & P Naptha



    By Attorney David Willis of The Willis Law Firm
    Principal Office -  5005 Riverway Drive, Suite # 160, Houston, Texas 77056 

     Toll Free 1-800-GOT-HURT™
    Licensed in State of Texas since 1983 and State of New York since 2005
    Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Law - Texas Board of Legal Specialization

    © 2006-2017 The Willis Law Firm, All Rights Reserved. Please Read the Law Firm Legal Notices & Disclaimer.
    All trademarks and registered trademarks appearing on this website are the property of their respective owners.

    NOTE: If you have been exposed to any refined petroleum products or chemicals containing benzene, toluene, xylene, naphtha or any aromatic hydrocarbon at a chemical plant, refinery or used a benzene-containing product and later diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, AML Leukemia, Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS), Aplastic Anemia (AA), Multiple Myeloma (MM), or Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL), or CLL then you may have a right to file a benzene exposure lawsuit. Call for a Free Confidential Consultation. Do Not Delay. Some states have filing dealings or statutes of limitations that expire as short as one year from the date of diagnosis and/or other strict conditions. Talk to a benzene exposure lawyer and get the help you and your family deserve. 

    All Cases Taken on a Contingency Fee Basis. No Attorney's Fee or Expenses Unless a Recovery Obtained.