Paul W. CoughenourPaul Coughenour Clark Hill
Paul W. Coughenour
Paul W. Coughenour is a member in Clark Hill's Labor & Employment Practice Group. He has devoted his practice to the representation of employers in all areas of employment law, including litigation defense and traditional labor matters, in addition to general commercial litigation. He represents many area businesses, including several non-profit entities, in addition to large national clients. He has successfully defended employers in a wide variety of employment cases, including sexual harassment, age, race and sex discrimination, and whistleblowers claims. He has first and second chair trial experience in discrimination, wage and hour, and contract claims. In addition, he has successfully handled dozens of discharge arbitrations involving unionized employees, trials before the National Labor Relations Board, and administrative hearings before state agencies including the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), and the Michigan Employment Relations Commission.
Paul received his law degree, cum laude, from Wayne State University Law School in 1982. He graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 1978 with a degree in general studies after attending Duke University for two years. Paul became a shareholder of Brady Hathaway Brady & Bretz, P.C. in 1998. He was previously a shareholder in the firm Barlow & Lange, P.C.
Paul is a member of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, the ABA Committee on Employee Rights and Responsibilities, and the ABA Litigation Section. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan Section on Labor and Employment Law, the Oakland County Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, and the Metropolitan Bar Association.
Paul has lectured on sexual harassment, discrimination, non-compete and trade secret issues, and other various employment law issues before The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, the Michigan Public Employer Labor Relations Association, the Oakland County Bar Association, the Troy and Royal Oak Chambers of Commerce, and various employer associations.
Paul’s publications include chapter contributions to Wrongful Discharge Cases in Michigan and the Michigan Public Employer Labor Relations Manual. He has also authored articles and outlines regarding union organizing, damages in wrongful discharge cases, contract and grievance administration, and employment litigation defense strategies.
Paul is “AV” rated, the highest available rating, by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Firm Directory. He is listed in "Best Lawyers in America" as one of the best labor and management employment attorneys in Michigan. He is also named in The National Registry of Who’s Who.
Paul Coughenour, Brian Shekell, Jeff Bell, Steve Holmes, and Pamela Bright recently obtained an ex parte temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction prohibiting two former employees of Clark Hill’s client from violating the restrictive covenants contained in their employment agreements and utilizing our client’s confidential information. To obtain the seldom granted ex parte temporary restraining order, Paul and Brian obtained affidavits from several of our client’s employees stating that the former employees had boasted about stealing our client’s customer lists, leads, and employees to use in a competing insurance agency they were forming. During the hearing on Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, Paul and Brian established that before and after the former employees resigned, they accessed our client’s computer database and stole confidential information that was being used to compete against our client. After hearing testimony from eight witnesses, the judge granted all of the relief requested in Clark Hill’s motion for a preliminary injunction, stating that this was a “clear case” of the defendants breaching the terms of the restrictive covenants contained in their employment agreements.
Paul Coughenour, Ellen Hoeppner, Jeff Bell and Steven Holmes persuaded the Michigan Court of Appeals to reverse a trial court’s denial of their summary disposition motion on a retaliation claim under the Michigan Civil Rights Act. Clark Hill obtained summary disposition of the plaintiff’s sexual harassment claim from the trial court, but was forced to file an application for leave to appeal to avoid an expensive and difficult trial on plaintiff’s claim that she was fired for reporting sexual harassment. After leave to appeal was granted, with one dissenting vote, oral arguments were made last week to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that plaintiff had not opposed a violation of the Act by objecting to offensive comments by her coworkers, or by sending her supervisor an email complaining that there was “a lot of unacceptable/inappropriate behavior that goes on” at the workplace. It ordered the case remanded for entry of judgment on plaintiff’s retaliation claim in favor of Clark Hill’s clients.