Paul A. Wilhelm
Paul Wilhelm represents clients in disputes over employment and employee benefits ranging from ERISA litigation matters to wage and hour claims and discrimination or retaliation claims.
Paul represents clients regionally and nationally in sophisticated and high-stakes disputes over employment and employee benefits. Whether an ERISA litigation matter, a wage-and-hour claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or comparable state law; a non-compete and trade secrets case, or claims of discrimination or retaliation, Paul diligently applies his experience to represent his clients from first internal complaint through final resolution.
Paul’s practice includes litigation and arbitration, where he regularly serves as lead counsel. Within the litigation sphere, he serves his clients through his experience in over 15 states, and in the arbitration sphere, he brings his experience before AAA, JAMS, and in private labor cases to his client’s benefit. He not only represents employers and other clients as lead counsel in litigation and arbitration but is skilled in assessing and managing litigation on a regional basis, using networks of proven local or co-counsel when needed.
Paul’s experience includes:
- Representing employers, service providers, and fiduciaries in ERISA litigation.
- Serving as regional counsel for benefits litigation for a national insurer and service provider.
- Defending national or regional clients in class and collective action wage-and-hour litigation under the FLSA and state law.
- Litigation regarding multiple class action settlement agreements over medical and prescription drug benefits offered to retirees.
- Defending a major consumer bank in a putative class action alleging violation of fiduciary duties relating to available investments.
- Defending a major retailer both at the trial court and appellate level in ERISA class action and age discrimination cases arising from severance payments made as part of a reorganization and transition plan.
- Defending plan sponsors and service providers in litigation over complex benefit denials.
- Prosecuting and defending numerous cases involving noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements, including obtaining and defending against injunctive relief.
- Representing judgment creditors in collection upon monetary judgments.
- Defending hospitality and other clients against claims over ADA accessibility (e.g., ADA Title III).
Michigan Super Lawyer, Employment Litigation: Defense, Employee Benefits/ERISA and Civil Litigation (2017-2021)
Michigan Super Lawyers’ Rising Star (2012-2015)
Award of the Year, Notre Dame Club of Detroit (2016)
DRI Young Lawyers Committee Chair Award (2009-2010)
Federal Bar Association, E.D. Michigan Chapter & W.D. Michigan Chapter
DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar – Employment and Labor Law Committee; Chair, ERISA Litigation Subcommittee; Member, Steering Committee; Life, Health, Disability & ERISA Committee
Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce
Northville Chamber of Commerce
Notre Dame Club of Detroit – Past President (2012-13); Director (2008-2018)
Notre Dame Club of Grand Rapids – Vice President (2021-); Director (2021-)
Life Member, Alumni Association of the University of Michigan
Deacon, Christ Church (Grand Rapids) (PCA)
State Bar Licenses
- Citizens Bank, N.A. v. Margolis, 509 F. Supp. 3d 967 (E.D. Mich. 2020) (after achieving injunctive relief on non-solicitation claims, defeating motion to compel arbitration before FINRA and defeating motion to dismiss certain claims; finding claim for conversion of confidential information that does not rise to the level of a trade secret not preempted).
- Thompson v. Quicken Loans Inc., No. 19-31516-GC (Oakland Co. Dist. Ct. Mich. Dec. 12, 2019) (granting motion for judgment under ERISA in favor of employer/plan, upholding administrator’s denial of claim for disability benefits).
- Lipford v. La-Z-Boy, Inc., No. 18-11365, 2019 WL 8220723 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 3, 2019) (granting motion for judgment under ERISA in favor of employer/plan, upholding administrator’s denial of claim for pension benefits).
- Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. and AFSCME Council 25 (Perry) (Roumell, Dec. 16, 2014) (arbitration; upholding termination decision of employer).
- Lord v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 8:14-cv-131, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148221 (D. Neb. Oct. 16, 2014) (judgment in favor of defendant on ERISA claim for benefits and discretion upheld where procedure was determined to be experimental or investigational).
- AFSCME Council 25 and Oakwood Health Promotions, Inc. (Dowdell) (Opperwall, Jan. 16, 2014) (arbitration; upholding termination decision of employer).
- Claeys v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 548 Fed. App’x 344, 57 Employee Benefits Cas. (BNA) 2408 (6th Cir. 2013) (affirming dismissal on summary judgment, finding ERISA claims were time-barred based on plan’s limitation period and rejecting equitable tolling).
- Amin v. Bank of America Pension Plan for Legacy Companies, No. 11-13789, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82247, 57 Employee Benefits Cas. (BNA) 1307 (E.D. Mich. June 12, 2013) (motion to affirm/judgment granted in favor of defendant).
- Moses v. Prison Health Servs., No. 2:09-cv-236, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27140 (W.D. Mich., Mar. 16, 2011), aff’d, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 26712 (6th Cir. Dec. 16, 2011) (affirming dismissal of Section 1983 claim).
- Crowell v. Bank of America Pension Plan for Legacy Companies, 2011 WL 856650 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 9, 2011) (dismissing ERISA claims).
- Roback v. UPS Retired Employees’ Healthcare Plan, 2010 WL 4286180 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 26, 2010) (dismissing ERISA and state law claims).
- Wescott v. Bank of America Corp., 2010 WL 1978685, 49 Employee Benefits Cas. 2146, Pens. Plan Guide (CCH) P 24007E (N.D. Ill. May 17, 2010) (dismissing ERISA claims).
- Corbisiero v. Bank of America Corp., 2010 WL 996441, 49 Employee Benefits Cas. 1122 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 16, 2010) (dismissing ERISA and state law claims).
- Reed v. Independent Bank Corp. and Hartford Life and Accident Ins. Co., 2008 WL 2780659, 44 Employee Benefits Cas. 2293 (E.D. Mich. July 16, 2008) (dismissing ERISA and state law claims).
- Mills v. Williams, 476 F. Supp. 2d 653, 218 Ed. Law Rep. 331 (E.D. Mich. 2007), aff’d, 276 Fed. App’x 417, 234 Ed. Law Rep. 640 (6th Cir. 2008) (dismissing retaliation claim, affirmed on appeal).
- Marks v. Newcourt Credit Group, Inc., 250 Fed. App’x 660 (6th Cir. 2007) (affirming dismissal of contract claim).
- International Ass’n of Heat & Frost Insulators & Asbestos Workers v. Doerman, 2005 WL 1073511, 151 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P10540 (S.D. Ohio Apr. 18, 2005) (dismissing claim by union seeking to enforce fine against employee).
- “Paying Employees,” Employment Law for Michigan Employers (3d Ed.) (ICLE) (contributing editor and author), 2017-2022
- “Protecting Your Financial Institution from Heists of Talent and Trade Secrets” (January 2017)
- For The Defense, DRI“Another Arrow in the Quiver: Taking Aim with the FRCP Amendments to Combat Conflict Discovery in ERISA Litigation” (May 2016)
- The Voice Vol.15 No.20, DRI“ERISA Litigation” Chapter author in DRI Employment Trial Tactics Notebook (forthcoming)“Have You Seen the DOL’s New ‘Clothes’?” (August 2010)
- The Voice Vol.9 No.33, DRI“Direct Examination of the Decisionmaker” 2010, Employment Law Trial Tactics, DRI“Top Five Trends in Wage and Hour Litigation: Exploring the Most Highly Litigated Disputes and Winning Strategies for Employers” (April 2009)
- For The Defense, DRI
- “How Do You Like Your Regs? Employers Scramble To Comply With Revised FMLA Mandates” January 2008, The Whisper Vol. 1 Issue 9, DRI
- 50 Employment Laws in 50 States (Contributing editor and author), 2006
- “Employers Reeling After Supreme Court Lowers Bar for Retaliation,” August 2006, The Whisper Vol.4 No.7, DRI
- The Developing Labor Law, 2004 and 2005 Cumulative Supplements (Contributing Editor)
- Kentucky Employment Law Letter (Contributing Editor and Author), 2002-2005
- “Permanency at What Cost?: Five Years of Imprudence Under the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997,” 16 Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy 617 (2002)
- SE MI LE Conference 2016 Year in Review
- SE MI LE Conference 2016 ERISA
- Employers, Be Prepared: Top Five COVID-19 Era Claims on the Horizon (DRI) (with Stephanie Rawitt) (May 2020)
- Responding to Off-Duty Conduct (with Rob Dare) (May 2019)
- “Drop That Thumb Drive, And Get Back Here!” – Using Non-Competes And The Law Of Trade Secrets To Protect And Maintain Your Competitive Advantage (with Brian Shekell) (May 2017)
- ERISA Litigation: Proportionality and Conflict Discovery After the 2015 Federal Rules Amendments – DRI Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Seminar, Chicago, IL (April 2017)
- “Who Are You Calling Anti-Social?” – An Employer’s Guide to Social Media in the Workplace (January 2017)
- Don’t Panic; Take the Wheel! – Turning the December Wage-and-Hour Changes into an Opportunity (October 2016)
- WEBINAR: New White Collar Exemption Regulations 6.16.16Final Department of Labor Overtime Regulations Training and Compliance Seminar (May 2016)
- Secure Your Own Mask Before Assisting Others: Flying Through A Year Of Regulatory And Litigation-Based Threats To Employers (a/k/a The Year In Review)(with Anne-Marie Vercruysse Welch) (May 2016)
- Drop The Knife! – Cutting-Edge Developments In ERISA Litigation (May 2016)
- Fun Times with the FLSA – HR Training On Exempt Status (February 2016)
- Fun with ERISA Litigation: On ERISA’s 40th Birthday, Four Top Cases from 2014, and Four Lessons for Plan Sponsors (October 2014)
- Moderator, “Please Disperse: There’s Nothing to See Here” – The Latest in Enforcement Efforts by the EEOC and NLRB; and How to Avoid Needlessly Costly Battles (Panel with NLRB and EEOC Directors) (October 2014)
- Wage and Hour Enforcement—Behind the Curtain (November 2012)Wage and Hour Litigation, DRI National Meeting (New Orleans, October 2012)
- Know the Enemy and Know Yourself –Five New Tactics in FLSA Disputes and Five Ways to Prepare (November 2011)
- The Medium is the Message: Effectively Using Your Theme with the Many Different Voices at Trial, DRI Employment Law Seminar, Scottsdale, AZ (May 2011)
- Why Me? — The Critical Role of the HR Professional in Wage-and Hour (FLSA) Compliance, Detroit, MI (November 2009)
- Top Five Trends in Wage and Hour Litigation, DRI Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL (November 2009)
- Managing Your Nonprofit Workforce in 2009, Community Legal Resources and the Michigan Nonprofit Association Workshop, Lansing, MI (February 2009)