Coughenour web

Paul W. Coughenour



151 S. Old Woodward
Suite 200
Birmingham, MI 48009
Vcard icon Email icon Pdf icon
Fax: +12489882518
J.D., cum laude, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 1982
B.G.S., with Honors, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1978
State Bar Licenses
Court Admissions
U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit
U.S. District Ct., E.D. of Michigan
U.S. District Ct., W.D. of Michigan
U.S. District Ct., C.D. of Illinois
U.S. District Ct., N.D. of Indiana
Super lawyers 2015
Best lawyers
Db toplawyer.rgb

Paul W. Coughenour


Paul W. Coughenour represents many businesses and nonprofit entities in all facets of employment law, including litigation defense, traditional labor matters, and general commercial litigation. 

Paul 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 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.

Best Lawyers in America (2019 and 2021 Editions) for Employment Law-Management; Labor Law-Management; Litigation-Labor and Employment
Martindale-Hubbell Law Firm Directory - "AV" Rating
Named in The National Registry of Who’s Who
ABA Labor and Employment Law Section
ABA Committee on Employee Rights and Responsibilities
ABA Litigation Section
State Bar of Michigan Section on Labor and Employment Law
Oakland County Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section
Metropolitan Bar Association

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.