Joe is a partner in Cornelius & Collins, LLP, where he has been practicing law since 1987. The focus of Joe’s practice is civil litigation, with an emphasis on products liability, general automotive and accident litigation, professional liability, personal injury, governmental liability, and federal civil rights actions. He represents both plaintiffs and defendants, and is admitted to practice in all state courts, as well as the United States District Court for the Middle, Western, and Eastern Districts of Tennessee, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Over the years, Joe has served as lead trial counsel and local counsel in defense of product liability claims in both federal and state courts in Tennessee. He has gained significant experience in the product liability field, defending a wide variety of complex catastrophic personal injury and property damage claims on behalf of various national and international product manufacturers, as well as regional and local distributors and retailers. His product liability experience includes the defense of claims involving automobiles, trucks, heavy lift equipment, cement mixers, automotive tools, presses, extrusion equipment, disposable butane lighters, seat belt equipment, airbags, fuel tanks, steering systems, plumbing equipment, electrical components, and clothing textiles, among others.  In addition to his product liability practice, Joe has represented a considerable number of physicians and health care providers in complex professional medical malpractice and wrongful death litigation. He also represents private physicians, health care entities, and correctional health care services.
Joe received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Tennessee Law Review, and received the Dean’s Citation for Extraordinary Contributions to the College of Law. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

Bar Admissions
Tennessee Supreme Court
U.S. District Court Eastern District of Tennessee
U.S. District Court Middle District of Tennessee
U.S. District Court Western District of Tennessee
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Middle District of Tennessee
U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
Representative Cases
Coffey v. Dowley Manufacturing, Inc., 187 F.Supp.2d 958 (M.D. Tenn. 2002).
Pride v. Bic Corp., 218 F.3d 566 (6th Cir. 2000).
Pride v. Bic Corp., 54 F.Supp.2d 757 (E.D. Tenn. 1999).
MacDonald v. General Motors Corp., 784 F.Supp. 486 (M.D. Tenn. 1992)
Honors & Awards
Martindale Hubbel Rated AV-Preeminent
The Best Lawyers in America 2009-Present
   (Product Liability Defense; Personal Injury Defense)
Professional Associations & Memberships
Nashville Bar Association
Nashville Bar Foundation
Tennessee Bar Association
American Bar Association
National Institute of Trial Advocacy
Defense Research Institute
Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association
Note, Torts - The Occupied Crossing Doctrine -
  Determining Contributory Negligence as a
  Matter of Law in Railroad Accident Cases
  53 Tenn. L. Rev. 435 (1986).
Civic & Community Activities
Nashville Bar Association, Pro Bono Program
Past Member, Board of Trustees, Baylor School, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Alumni Board Member, Baylor School, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Scoutmaster, Boy Scouts of America Troop 31
St. George's Episcopal Church, Nashville, Tennessee
Order of the Arrow, Brotherhood
Youth Baseball Coach, Greater Nashville
Amateur Baseball Association (GNABA)
Brentwood Civitan Baseball League
Creive Hall Youth Athletic Association
Kappa Alpha Order


Joseph R. Wheeler



Nashville City Center | Suite 1500
P.O. Box 190695
511 Union Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37219

Practice Areas

Insurance Law
Litigation & Appeals
Professional Liability Law
Personal Injury
Products Liability
Tort Litigation

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