Photo of Michael J. Cohen

Michael J. Cohen

Shareholder
111 East Kilbourn Avenue, 19th Floor
Milwaukee, WI 53202
P 414.273.1300
F 414.273.5840

Shareholder Michael J. Cohen has more than 30 years of experience in complex commercial litigation in federal and state courts. His proven record of numerous favorable verdicts at the trial and appellate levels has earned him a reputation as one of Wisconsin’s preeminent business litigators. For many years, Mike has been recognized by members of the Wisconsin bar and judiciary as one of the top lawyers in the state.

Mike concentrates his practice on complex commercial litigation including non-compete and other restrictive covenants, breach of contract, business torts, shareholder disputes and employment; environmental and toxic tort litigation; and on complex insurance coverage litigation, including environmental and asbestos liabilities and bad faith claims. He has been involved in some of the most significant complex insurance coverage matters in Wisconsin and other surrounding states over the two decades.

Attorney Videos

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Preparing to Compete: The Boundaries of Permissible Conduct

Preparing to Compete: The Boundaries of Permissible Conduct

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Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements in Wisconsin

Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements in Wisconsin

Representative Matters

  • Bielefeldt v. Dickert, Racine County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (2011) (defamation claims against Mayor of Racine; case settled prior to trial)
  • Lunda Construction Co. v. Fischer-Fischer-Theis, Inc., et al., Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (2008) (Construction defect case involving insurance coverage claims; obtained partial summary judgment on plaintiff’s claim for defense as additional insured; case settled prior to trial)
  • Majerus v. M.A.N. Equipment Sales, LLC, et al., Fond du Lac County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (2008) (breach of contract; case settled after several days of jury trial)
  • Menasha Corporation v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, et al., Winnebago County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (2007) (Environmental insurance coverage action involving PCB contamination of Fox River; case settled prior to trial)
  • Schmuck v. Oja, et al., Price County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (2005) (Employer liability claims involving insurance coverage; obtained summary judgment for insurer, appeal denied)
  • Columbia Casualty, et al. v. Arjo Wiggins Appleton P.L.C., et al., Brown County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (2005) (Environmental insurance coverage action involving PCB contamination of Fox River; case settled during appeal)
  • Rogers, et al. v. Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund, et al., Washington County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (2004) (Insurance coverage for health care liability claims; obtained summary judgment for insurer; affirmed on appeal)
  • Plastics Engineering Company v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, United States District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin (2004) (Asbestos insurance coverage case; Decision by Wisconsin Supreme Court after transfer by Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals)
  • Mullins Whey, Inc. v. McShares et al., United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Green Bay Division (2004) (Toxic tort and products action; settled prior to trial)
  • Northwest Wisconsin Anesthesiologists, S.C. v. Brendel, et al., Barron County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (2003) (Non-compete and breach of contract claims; obtained preliminary injunction following hearing enforcing non-compete)
  • Wisconsin Electric Power Company v. Admiral Insurance Company, et al., Milwaukee County, Wisconsin (2003) (Environmental insurance coverage action; case settled immediately prior to trial)
  • Johnson Controls, Inc. v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, et al., Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (2000-2006) (involved for lead carrier in environmental insurance coverage case, including appeal to Wisconsin Supreme Court; summary judgment granted, affirmed on appeal and reversed by Supreme Court; claims against client settled prior to trial after remand)
  • Bentley World-Packaging, Ltd. v. One Source Packaging, Logistics & Distributions, LLC., Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (2000) (Claims of breach of fiduciary duties, trade secrets, tortious interference, and conspiracy to injure business; obtained settlement prior to trial for former employer)
  • Radiology Consultants, et al. v. Huberty, et al., Racine County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (1999) (claims of tortious interference, conspiracy to injure business; obtained denial of preliminary injunction, case voluntary dismissed against clients)
  • Wisconsin Power & Light Co. v. Admiral Ins. Co., et al., United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (1997) (Environmental insurance coverage action; obtained summary judgment for insurer; argued on behalf of insurers before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, who affirmed on appeal)
  • Sunbeam Corporation, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, et. al, Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (1994-2007) (parallel Wisconsin case stayed) (Environmental insurance coverage action; argued on behalf of insurers before the Pennsylvania intermediate appellate courts and Supreme Court; claims against client settled prior to trial)
  • Kohler Co. v. Allstate, et al., Sheboygan County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (1991) (Environmental insurance coverage action; obtained summary judgment for insurer, affirmed on appeal)
  • Powers Holdings, Inc. v. Sharp Refractories, et al., Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (1991) (Claims of non-compete, trade secrets, tortious interference, breach of fiduciary duty and conspiracy; obtained denial of preliminary injunction, obtained summary judgment on certain claims including non-compete violations and prevailed at trial on remaining claims)

Honors

  • Wisconsin Super Lawyers® (2006 - 2016); Top 25 Lawyers in Milwaukee (2011 - 2016); Top 50 Wisconsin Super Lawyers (2008 - 2016)
  • The Best Lawyers in America® (2010 - 2018); Milwaukee Lawyer of the Year® (Insurance Litigation, 2014, 2017)
  • America's Top 100 Attorneys - Lifetime Achievement Member (2017)
  • Leaders in the Law (2011)

News

Articles

Speeches & Publications

Speaker, Arbitration: Soup to Nuts, Alternative Dispute Resolution Seminar, Milwaukee Bar Association, May 11, 2016.

Speaker, Social Media and Other Electronic Evidence, 2016 Marquette University Law School Civil Litigation and Evidence Conference, March 4, 2016.

Speaker, E-Discovery in Insurance Coverage Cases, PCI Claims Committee Conference, October 8, 2014.

Speaker, Agents who Prepare to Compete: Soliciting Customers and Co-Workers, State Bar of Wisconsin, December 5, 2013

Speaker, Trending Topics in Business LitigationPreparing to Compete and the Breach of the Duty of Loyalty, Wisconsin State Bar, November 30, 2012

Speaker, Litigation Holds—What Should Be Done.  Wisconsin Defense Counsel 2010 Summer Conference; Washington County Bar Association, February 17, 2010

Speaker, Advanced Allocation Issues, Complex Insurance Claims Litigation Association, March 10, 2010

Speaker, Litigation Holds and the Duty to Preserve Evidence, Marquette University Law School, November 6, 2009

Author, Recent Revisions to the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act Raise the Stakes for Employers, The Business Journal (Milwaukee), Vol. 27, No. 3 at 43 (Oct. 16, 2009) (co-authored with Thomas M. Hruz)

Author, Can Employers Force Employees to Sign Noncompete Agreements as a Condition of their Employment?, Wisconsin Lawyer, Vol. 72, No. 5, (May 1999) (co-authored with William T. Stuart)

Speaker, Practical Evidence Issues Before and at Trial—Scope of Expert Testimony at Trial—Attempts to Go Beyond Expert Report and Disclosures; Use of Information Obtained Over the Internet; Litigation Holds—What Should be Done; Contacting Employees and Former Employees of Opposing Party; Milwaukee Bar Association, December 12, 2008

Speaker, 2008 Insurance Law Institute—Views From Across the River—Trigger, Allocation and the Plastics Engineering Co. v. Liberty Mutual Co. Case in Wisconsin, Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, November 13, 2008

Speaker, 31st Annual Corporate Practice Institute—Trade Secrets: A Thief or Not a Thief?, State Bar of Wisconsin—CLE Seminars, December 4, 2007

Speaker, Real Evidence for the Trial Practitioner—Scope of Expert Testimony at Trial—Attempts to Go Beyond Expert Report and Disclosures; Use of Information Obtained Over the Internet; Litigation Holds—What Should be done; Contacting Employees and Former Employees of Opposing Party, Lorman Business Center, Inc., August 28, 2007

Speaker, Current Issues Surrounding CGL Coverage—Insurance Coverage for Business Torts, Lorman Business Center, Inc., May 4, 2007

Speaker, Insurance Bad Faith Claims, Lorman Business Center, Inc., March 30, 2007

Speaker, 2006 Civil Law Seminar—Case Management Orders, Wisconsin Supreme Court, December 6, 2006

Speaker, Insurance Coverage for Environmental Contamination, Civil Trial Counsel of Wisconsin, August 12, 2006

Speaker, Annual Convention Litigation Section—Insurance Coverage for Business Torts, State Bar of Wisconsin, May 3, 2006

Speaker, Insurance Bad Faith Claims in Wisconsin, Lorman Business Center, Inc., March 31, 2006; April 29, 2005 and March 22, 2005.

Speaker, Insurance Coverage for Environmental Contamination: Welcome Back to Environmental Law After Johnson Controls, Inc., v. Employers Insurance of Wausua, et al., Civil Trial Counsel of Wisconsin, August 11, 2005

Professional Organizations

  • State Bar of Wisconsin Judicial Election Steering Committee
  • State Bar of Wisconsin, Member of the Board of Governors
  • Milwaukee Bar Association

Past President; Bench-Bar Civil Division Committee, Former Co-Chair; Civil Litigation Section, Former Chair

  • Milwaukee Bar Foundation, Board Member
  • Thomas E. Fairchild Inn of Court, Master
  • American Bar Association

Tort Law and Insurance, Business Litigation

  • American Bar Foundation
  • Wisconsin Fellows
  • High School Mock Trial Tournament, Former Co-Chair
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Wisconsin Defense Counsel

Community/Civic Activities

  • International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Board Member
  • National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Former Board Member
  • Business Law, Center for Legal Technology, a division of MBTI/Business Training Institute, Instructor (1989-1991)
  • City of Milwaukee Administrative Appellate Review Board, Board Member (1987-1989)
  • City of Milwaukee Housing Authority, Alternate Hearing Examiner (1986-1989)

Client Testimonials

“From the get go, Attorneys Michael Cohen and Dieter Juedes were confident that they could litigate our case to a satisfactory outcome. They were very knowledgeable as to employer/employee relationship law and our legal basis for a lawsuit. I was very satisfied with our outcome. I called around the city for referrals for an attorney who specialized in employer/employee relations law and Attorney Cohen’s name kept coming up, again and again. I would not hesitate to use Attorney Cohen in the future if the need arises.”

-Glen H. Schott, Vice-President and General Manager of Imperial Flavors Beverage Company

"From the very start, Atty. Cohen and his team at Meissner Tierney put forth their full efforts into defending our case. Atty. Cohen doggedly pursued every avenue of attack on our behalf, and his expert legal work resulted in a dismissal, exceeding our expectations. We could not be happier with the quality of the legal representation or the result."

-Gregory T. Helding, J.D., Alderman of the 11th District

“As we approach our 11th business anniversary, I am thankful that Meissner Tierney has been on our side from the beginning.  Our lead counsel, Mike Cohen, consistently provides us with a comprehensive view of our legal issues and finds practical, quality solutions that work in a timely fashion.”

-Brian Lammi, President of Lammi Sports Management, Inc.

“Michael Cohen is a pleasure to work with.  He has great expertise within his specialty, is very responsive and is cost effective and practical.  Michael also has a very good manner and style when dealing with both clients and opposing counsel.”

-William M. Bohn, President & CEO of Associated Financial Group, LLC

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