Reprinted with permission of ATLA. 2003
Steven Sharp, the young man in whose honor ATLA bestows the Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award, is now the subject of a terrific new book, A Measure of Endurance: The Unlikely Triumph of Steven Sharp.
In 1992, Steven, just 17 years old, lost both arms in a baling accident on a ranch in remote eastern Oregon. The details of that traumatic episode are excruciating; the only reason Steven escaped alive was his extraordinary presence of mind at the time. The courage and wisdom with which he then embarked on his new life without arms should be inspiring for all of us.
Almost four years after the accident, Steven's lead lawyer Bill Manning, of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi in Minneapolis, won the lawsuit against the manufacturer, J. I. Case (now Case IH) in Racine, Wisconsin (practically a company town for Case and the other main employer, Johnson Wax). Three years later—two months short of the seventh anniversary of the accident—the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously upheld the lower court's verdict.
Written by William Mishler, a retired professor at the University of Minnesota who died shortly after completing the manuscript, this saga of Steven's life, traumatic accident, painstaking rehabilitation, and eventual courtroom triumph is a page-turner of the first order. Alfred A. Knopf, one of the premier publishing houses, has high hopes for a bestseller, with good reason.