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Jeffrey T. Nichols

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Biography

Jeffrey T. “Jeff” Nichols has tried more than 80+ civil jury trials to verdict across state and federal courts in Wisconsin and the United States. A named partner in the firm, Jeff also serves as the president where he is responsible for the execution of the overall business strategy in leading Crivello, Nichols & Hall to becoming Wisconsin and the Midwest’s unrivalled defense law firm. 

His national trial practice is heavily concentrated on products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, construction matters, and medical and professional malpractice. Jeff is proud to serve as National Trial Counsel to multiple global manufacturers of outdoor power equipment, construction and compact farming machinery, and consumer products. He has tried complex, high stakes, “bet the company” level litigation matters in Wisconsin, Texas, New York, California, Kansas, and Connecticut and litigated hundreds more throughout the United States with tremendous success.

For his clients, Jeff delivers clarity from today’s complex legal ecosystem as well as decisive direction in strategy and analysis to help navigate this world of increasing exposures and evolving risks. No stranger to hard work, Jeff’s philosophy is singularly focused on giving his clients every advantage in litigation to drive, leverage, and deliver value in resolving their disputes.

His significant and diverse trial and legal experience includes:

  • Lead Counsel in a five-week multiple-party jury trial in Sonoma, California defending his client, a tele-handler manufacturer, in a catastrophic injury case where the plaintiff asked for $26,000,000 at trial, and following three days of deliberations received a total and complete defense verdict for his client.
  • Lead Counsel in a Minnesota oil and gas explosion case that involved multiple product manufacturers and questionable product identification concerns resulting in a favorable settlement on behalf of his client.
  • Lead Counsel in a week-long trial defending a national retailer in a premises liability matter in which the plaintiff alleged complex regional pain syndrome due to a box falling on the plaintiff where Jeff received a complete defense verdict on behalf of the retailer.
  • Lead Counsel in a construction defect and mold remediation matter in Madison, WI related to the construction and design of a high-end hotel resulting in a favorable apportionment to his client, a subcontractor, that involved significant and novel legal issues related to construction surety, contract interpretation, water mitigation, and toxic materials.
  • Multiple dismissals or findings of no negligence on behalf of hospitals, healthcare delivery systems, healthcare providers and physicians, allied health professionals, long-term care providers, and correctional healthcare entities in medical malpractice and professional license disciplinary proceedings.
  • Successfully managed the 2001 crane collapse case that occurred during the construction of the then-Miller Park Baseball Stadium with more than $100M in contested damages where Jeff and the Crivello team concluded the matter within 18 months of the collapse, successfully resolving the catastrophic injury, wrongful death, property damage, breach of contract, and construction delay claims.

In his career, Jeff has handled more than 250+ lawsuits and claims that alleged more than $1,000,000 in contested damages and multiple cases where the amount exceeded $10,000,000. While he maintains an active litigation practice across all areas of casualty and tort litigation, Jeff has carved out an impeccable record of success in the areas of products liability defending international, national, regional, and local manufacturers, distributors, retailers and wholesalers in allegations of negligence in a design defect, failure to warn, and warranty matters.

Jeff’s product liability experience includes:

  • Construction equipment such as telehandlers, bulldozers, excavators, steamrollers, compactors, and cranes;
  • Automobile, off road, and recreational vehicle equipment and design such as drive shafts, brakes, and rollovers;
  • Agricultural and farm equipment such as tractors, hay bailers, and collectors;
  • Power tools such as jackhammers, bandsaws, nail guns, and drills;
  • Home appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers, and stoves;
  • Electrical and fuel-based generators;
  • Oil and gas rigs and equipment; and
  • Propane and gas tanks.

Jeff’s carefully crafted and hard-earned reputation as a fearless advocate for his clients’ interests, his unassailable record at trial, and his devotion to professionalism have earned him election into the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC) and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) of which he is now a former president (2021-22). FDCC and ABOTA are the preeminent honorary societies for lawyers in the nation and their limited admission is highly vetted by judges, peers, opposing counsel, and clients. Jeff is AV rated by Martindale Hubble and is perennially named in Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers. In addition to his recognition and membership into ABOTA and the FDCC, Jeff was honored to have been recognized by the defense bar as the Wisconsin Defense Counsel Association – Advocate of the Year (2016) and in Lawyer of the Year by US News and World Report (2019) for his relentless advocacy and masterful trial strategy.

Jeff is also member of the Board of Directors for a Wisconsin-based Mutual Insurance Company which allows him to connect, understand, and evaluate claims for his private sector clients in a unique way that blends not only 30 years of experience as a trial attorney and litigator but also his knowledge as an officer and director of a midsize regional business. This unique experience allows Jeff to advise brand and market share conscious clients in risk mitigation and management.

Practice Areas

Construction Law
Industrial Accidents
Insurance Defense, Coverage, and Disputes
Negligence and Personal Injury Defense
Nursing Home and Long Term Care Liability
Product Liability
Professional Malpractice Litigation
Trucking Litigation
Wrongful Death

Bar Admissions

State of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court - Western District of Wisconsin
U.S. Court of Appeals – Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals - Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals - Ninth Circuit
Menomonie Tribal Court
Northern District of Illinois
Western District of Texas
California Ninth Circuit
Admitted Pro Hac Vice in more than 25 states

Education

Valparaiso Law School 1990
Marquette University 1987

Professional Organizations

American Bar Association
ABOTA - Wisconsin Chapter - Advocate
State Bar of Wisconsin
Defense Research Institute
Civil Trial Counsel
Milwaukee Bar Association
Milwaukee Insurance Adjusters Association
Transportation Lawyers Association
Seventh Circuit Bar Association
FDCC – Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel

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