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Having been a licensed funeral director for 25 years, Attorney Sharkey brings a very rare depth of knowledge to his mortuary law practice. Sharkey represents funeral homes and funeral chapels, crematories, and cemeteries in all aspects of legal issues, whether litigation, business law or business transactions, regulatory compliance, or defense against licensing boards or consumer complaints.
Sharkey serves as General Counsel to the Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Washington State Funeral Directors Associations, and the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice. By serving in these roles Sharkey is able to stay abreast of the very latest issues impacting funeral service. There are very, very few funeral directors-turned -attorney and this trade knowledge combined with Sharkey’s experience with so many funeral homes, cemeteries, crematories, and funeral service associations provides a depth of legal expertise not found elsewhere.
Sharkey also offers disinterment and exhumation services to his clients and has been involved in more than 100 exhumations or disinterments. He handles both the legal aspects of these cases and provides the planning, logistics, and technical expertise to get the work done. Sharkey has worked on cold case homicide cases which required exhumation for autopsy, moving individuals so that they can rest with family members, and worked on large projects in which portions of cemeteries need to be moved to accommodate construction work. He brings a level of legal and technical skills unique to the sensitive work of disinterment and/or exhumation so that both the legal, physical, and ethical aspects are all addressed properly. Sharkey also has served as counsel to advise regarding the repatriation of human remains.
Funeral homes, funeral chapels, crematories, cemeteries, mausoleums, memorial parks, and individual licensed funeral directors, embalmers, and morticians seek out Sharkey’s advice and counsel based on his experience, trade knowledge, and ability to speak fluent “funeral director.”
As part of his services to his funeral home clients Attorney Sharkey offers business transaction services to his clients. Funeral homes are a unique business with specific laws regarding buy or sell agreements, reporting to licensing authorities post sale, and with unique valuation calculus. Sharkey possesses the knowledge and experience to help navigate buy or sell agreements, stock transfers, generational transfers, and employee stock purchases.
Attorney Sharkey has represented both ma and pa shops and Fortune 500 companies in civil litigation cases in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota. With 18 years of experience as a litigator he is very comfortable and highly effective in a courtroom setting. That said, Sharkey always looks to whether a case can be brought to an amicable resolution without incurring the costs and uncertainty of trial. Sharkey has also made several appearances in state appellate court, preserving trial court wins on behalf of his clients.
Attorney Sharkey has been involved in litigation his entire legal career and served on the trial team for a national insurance company. He has more than 50 arbitrations under his belt, along with several jury trials to verdict.
Attorney Sharkey offers commercial and residential real estate transaction services and has been involved in multi-million dollar acquisition and sale transactions in MN and WI, along with residential real estate transactions.
Unsurprisingly, Attorney Sharkey offers probate services to both individuals and to businesses looking to recoup monies from estates- namely funeral homes that have not been paid for services. Practicing at the intersection of life-death issues, Sharkey also offers clients will, estate, and trust services and advice to individuals looking to preserve and/or transfer assets.
There are few legitimate expert witnesses with Sharkey’s in-depth knowledge of funeral service. He offers expert witness, case evaluation, and trial consultation to both Defendants and Plaintiffs across the country. He brings a litigator’s eye and mind to helping lawyers, judges, and juries understand the nuances of funeral, cremation, and cemetery work in the context of a civil claim.
While subrogation work is not normally thought of as sexy law, it is an important tool for insurers and businesses that are looking to recoup losses incurred through the fault of others. Sharkey has handled numerous business subrogation cases with an eye toward recouping monies while not running up fees to do such. He is particularly adept at handling work comp subrogation cases on behalf of work comp insurers.
Professionals sometimes run afoul of complaints by clients or are subject to investigations by licensing boards. When this happens, the professional needs someone who understands the nuances of administrative law and how licensing agencies handle and prosecute complaints. Attorney Sharkey has represented numerous licensed professionals before the Minnesota Department of Health, Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, Department of Workforce Development, and OSHA. He also has experience with FTC compliance for funeral operations.
Sharkey serves as a rapid response attorney for an insurance company which specializes in insuring construction companies and has been dispatched on very short notice to worksites when there is a catastrophic injury or workplace death. His knowledge of OSHA investigations allows employers the peace of mind that someone who understands the process of an OSHA investigation has their back.
One of Attorney Sharkey’s greatest passions is providing continuing education for funeral service professionals. He is a sought after speaker on the funeral association convention circuit and has presented at more than 20 different state/regional conventions or conferences and 5 national conventions. He presents on the issues of mortuary law, best business practices for funeral directors and cemeteries, cremation liability, and funeral service ethics. He truly enjoys putting on high energy sessions that offer immediate “take aways” for professionals to implement at their businesses. Sharkey has a “Have PowerPoint, Will Travel” attitude towards meeting colleagues and helping them navigate the modern funeral service minefield.
Sharkey Law, PLLC
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