Michael J. Cohen - Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols S.C.

Michael J. Cohen

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2011
Phone: 414-273-1300

Shareholder Michael J. Cohen has more than 25 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.

University of Wisconsin–MadisonBA 1983Marquette UniversityJ.D. 1986
State Bar of Wisconsin Judicial Election Steering CommitteeState Bar of WisconsinMilwaukee Bar AssociationMilwaukee Bar FoundationThomas E. Fairchild Inn of CourtAmerican Bar AssociationAmerican Bar FoundationWisconsin FellowsHigh School Mock Trial TournamentDefense Research InstituteWisconsin Defense Counsel

Case History

Cargill, Inc. v. Ace American Insurance Company, et al.

784 N.W.2d 341 (Minn. 2010); A complex environmental insurance coverage action in which the client, a nationally renown liability insurer, obtained summary judgment in its favor, with such decision being affirmed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals and then, on other grounds, by the Minnesota Supreme Court. In doing so, Attorneys Michael Cohen and Thomas Hruz convinced the Minnesota Supreme Court to overrule a 43-year-old precedent and create new law on contribution rights between insurers as to their duty to defend an insured, all in a manner favorable to our client and insurers generally.

St. Paul Mercury Ins. Co. v. Northern States Power Co. — 2009 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 977 (Minn. Ct. App. 2009),rev. denied 2009 Minn. LEXIS 834 (Minn. 2009); Northern States Power Co. v. Continental Ins. Co., 2011 WI App 136, 337 Wis. 2d 427, 805 N.W.2d 734, rev. denied 2012 WI 2. A complex environmental insurance coverage action in which the firm’s clients, two excess insurance carriers, obtained a favorable ruling on venue of the action in Minnesota and Minnesota choice of law and subsequently obtained summary judgment on allocation of damages and justiciability. Cohen and his colleagues were also successful in obtaining a critical stay of the parallel Wisconsin action while the Minnesota action proceeded. The Minnesota District Court’s decisions were affirmed on appeal, and the insured’s petition for review to the Minnesota Supreme Court was denied. The Wisconsin circuit court then gave full-faith and credit to the Minnesota District Court’s holdings and dismissed the parallel Wisconsin action. The Wisconsin circuit court’s decisions were affirmed on appeal and the insured’s petition for review to the Wisconsin Supreme Court was denied.
Lyman, et al. v. St. Jude Medical

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (2005-2008); A multi-million dollar breach of contract action by our client, an individual sales representative whose contract with a major, national medical device company was summarily and without legitimate cause terminated. The case settled soon after our client obtained a number of very favorable court rulings immediately prior to trial, including a ruling rejecting a Daubert challenge to our client’s damages expert while disqualifying the defendant’s corresponding expert.

Haase, et al. v. American Optical, et al.

2004 WI 97, 274 Wis. 2d 143, 682 N.W.2d 389; Our client, one of the nation's largest industrial sand suppliers, was sued by a foundry worker with silicosis claiming strict liability for allegedly producing an unreasonably dangerous product. Cohen and his colleagues obtained a directed verdict after two weeks of trial. The directed verdict was upheld by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which held that sand in its raw form was not an unreasonably dangerous product as a matter of law, effectively creating legal immunity for our client.

Cababa v. St. Francis Anesthesiology, Inc. — United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (2003). An anesthesiology group and its officers were sued by a former member of the group for national origin discrimination and retaliation claims. Cohen and his colleagues obtained summary judgment dismissing all claims against the defendants and an order for costs. The case established precedent on “stray remarks” as not constituting direct evidence of discrimination and the need for common decision makers to have performed the alleged discriminatory acts.
Emergency Physicians, Ltd. v. Infinity Healthcare Physicians, S.C., et al. — Brown County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (1999).   Emergency physician group brought claims of tortious interference of non-compete agreements and conspiracy to injure business against client, who was awarded exclusive hospital contracts for emergency room services. Michael Cohen obtained summary judgment for our client dismissing all claims and declaring that the physician non-compete agreements were unenforceable as a matter of Wisconsin law.

Client Comments

"Michael Cohen is knowledgeable and able to provide in-depth analyses of issues. "

"Michael Cohen is an outstanding litigator. He is practical and accomplishes a cost-effective result."

"Michael Cohen is a pleasure with whom to work. 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 Bohn
Associated Financial Group

Office Location

The Milwaukee Center, 19th Floor
111 East Kilbourn Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2017 Lawyer of the Year in Insurance Law of the Milwaukee Metro Area2014 Lawyer of the Year in Insurance Law of the Milwaukee Metro Area
Michael J. Cohen has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2017!Michael J. Cohen has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2014!


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Practice Areas

Commercial Litigation
Insurance Law

Other Information

Gender: Male