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David J. Canupp


Mr. Canupp’s practice is focused on the defense of personal injury lawsuits and general civil litigation, and he has particular experience defending employment lawsuits and lawsuits against local governmental entities and their employees. He serves as panel counsel for several large insurance carriers, and is often retained to represent cities and individual employees at both the trial and appellate levels, frequently in federal court. He regularly defends claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as claims of employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and so forth. He also is frequently called upon to represent municipalities and police officers in law enforcement liability cases. However, his experience in defending civil claims is broad and he regularly represents the interests of businesses and individuals sued in personal injury cases (including severe burn cases), wrongful-death lawsuits, and a variety of other types of litigation involving injuries and property damage.

Above all else, however, Mr. Canupp’s practice is responsive to his clients’ needs. In recent years, he has tried two federal law enforcement liability cases and won defense verdicts for law enforcement officers in both. In another case, he was retained to serve as appellate counsel after an insured had sustained an adverse judgment of nearly $5,000,000 in the trial court; Mr. Canupp presented oral argument to the Alabama Supreme Court and prevailed, wiping out the entire judgment. He also successfully defended a follow-on federal court lawsuit and ended a nearly 10-year legal dispute with zero liability to the client. Mr. Canupp also served as primary counsel in an $800,000 insurance dispute that was resolved fully in favor of his client, a public entity.

In recent years, Mr. Canupp has handled a number of class- and collective-action lawsuits involving numerous plaintiffs. He is one of a select group of lawyers to have led the defense of a major class action brought against an Alabama municipality arising out of municipal court operations. Mr. Canupp also has chaired the defense of state- and nation-wide collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Outside of the litigation context, Mr. Canupp provides guidance to employers in responding to unemployment petitions, reviewing handbook policies, analyzing the proper classification of employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act, preparing employment agreements, and investigating employee complaints. Finally, Mr. Canupp is frequently retained by both businesses and government agencies to provide guidance in complying with the accessibility requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

In addition to his work with clients, Mr. Canupp contributes to Lanier Ford's Third-Shift Employment Law Blog.


Honors and Awards

  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America since 2019, Mr. Canupp is listed in the areas of employment law (representing management) and appellate practice.
  • SuperLawyers.com selected him as a Rising Star for 2018 and 2019 in the areas of employment litigation, constitutional law, civil rights, and state, local, and municipal law.
  • Mr. Canupp is rated by Martindale-Hubbell as AV Preeminent ®.
  • One of the top-40-under-40 litigation lawyers for 2014, as selected by the American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA).
  • One of the top-40-under-40 litigation lawyers in Alabama for 2015, as selected by the ASLA.
  • Amicus Service Award from the International Municipal Lawyers Association, 2012. The award is given those attorneys who do exemplary work to protect and advance local government interests.

Representative Cases

Matthews v. Huntsville City Police Dept., 2020 WL 4593782 (N.D. Ala. Aug. 11, 2020).

Smith v. Morgan, 2020 WL 4192576 (N.D. Ala. July 21, 2020).

Ingram v. Kubik, 2020 WL 1235478 (N.D. Ala. Mar. 12, 2020).

Henderson v. McMurray and City of Huntsville, 2020 WL 554230 (Feb. 4, 2020).

Welch v. City of Hartselle, 423 F.Supp. 3d 1277 (N.D. Ala. 2019).

Zimmerman v. DealNews, 295 So.3d 604 (Ala. 2019).

Alabama State Conference of the NAACP v. City of Pleasant Grove, 372 F.Supp.3d 1333 (N.D. Ala. 2019).

Roney v. City of Huntsville, 2108 WL 6326483 (N.D. Ala. Dec. 4, 2018).

Nelson v. Lott, 330 F.Supp.3d 1314 (N.D. Ala. 2018).

Ex Parte Gilland, 2018 WL 4657335 (Ala. Sept. 28, 2018).

Davis v. Madison County, 2018 WL 3631707 (N.D. Ala. July 31, 2018).

Bey ex. rel. Jackson v. City of Madison, 2018 WL 1509357 (N. D. Ala. Mar. 27, 2018)

Ex Parte City of Muscle Shoals, 2018 WL 1025039 (Ala. Feb. 23, 2018).

Littleton v. Miller, 2017 WL 6041942 (N.D. Ala. Dec. 6, 2017).

Wall v. City of Oneonta, 2017 WL 4469334 (N.D. Ala. Oct. 6, 2017).

Parton v. Dorning, 698 Fed.Appx. 580 (11th Cir. 2017).

Ransom v. Sherman, 697 Fed.Appx. 638 (11th Cir. Sept. 6, 2017).

Littleton v. Miller, 2017 WL 2172063 (N.D. Ala. May 17, 2017).

Patel v. City of Madison, 2017 WL 432465 (N.D. Ala. Feb. 1, 2017).

Bagwell v. Morgan County Commission, 676 Fed.Appx. 863 (11th Cir. January 18, 2017).

Fuqua v. Hess, 2017 WL 192760 (N.D. Ala. Jan. 18, 2017).

Holden v. City of Sheffield, 2017 WL 34848 (N.D. Ala. Jan. 4, 2017).

McClure v. Oasis Outsourcing II, Inc., 2016 WL 7473780 (11th Cir. Dec. 29, 2016).

M&N Materials, Inc., v. Town of Gurley, No. 5:14-CV-00184-CLS (N.D. Ala. Nov. 13, 2015).

McBay v. City of Decatur, 2014 WL 1513344 (N.D. Ala. 2014).

Morris v. Town of Lexington, Alabama, 748 F.3d 1316 (11th Cir. 2014).

Town of Gurley v. M & N Materials, Inc., 143 So. 3d 1 (Ala. 2013).

Franklin v. Curry, 738 F.3d 1246 (11th Cir. 2013).

Noles v. City of Guntersville, 551 Fed. Appx. 497 (11th Cir. 2013).

Benefield v. City of Albertville, 2013 WL 28051 (N.D. Ala. 2013).

Wood v. City of Albertville, 2013 WL 6839598 (N.D. Ala. 2013).

Pell v. Tidwell, 139 So.3d 165 (Ala. Civ. App. 2013).

Mason v. City of Huntsville, 2012 WL 4815518 (N.D. Ala. 2012)

Blackwood v. Arc of Madison County, Inc., 2012 WL 5932451 (N.D. Ala. 2012).

Thompson v. City of Muscle Shoals, 2012 WL 4815466 (N.D. Ala. 2012).

Vaughn v. Nacco Materials Handling Group, Inc., 440 Fed.Appx. 821 (11th Cir. 2011).


CLE Courses

Mr. Canupp has presented the following continuing legal education (CLE) seminars:


  • Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Guidance for Employers, Ask-the-Experts Zoom Seminar sponsored by the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce, June 1, 2020.
  • Contracts for Insurance Adjusters, Alabama Property and Casualty Adjusters Association, Madison, Alabama, July 10, 2019.
  • New Overtime Rules, Lanier Ford Tax Developments 2016, July 2016 (continuing professional education for certified public accountants).
  • Avoiding Wage and Hour Violations, Employment Law Seminar, National Business Institute, Huntsville, Alabama, November 17, 2015.
  • The Payoff to Being a Great Place To Work, Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce, November 4, 2015.
  • The Disability Blues, Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation Roundtable, Birmingham, Alabama, October 28, 2015.
  • Employment Law Update 2014, 19th Annual Human Resource Management Conference, Shoals Chapter Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), Muscle Shoals, Alabama, June 12, 2014.
  • ADA Accessibility Guidelines: Are You in Compliance?, Lanier Ford Lunch & Learn, December 2012.
  • Immigration Law Compliance for Employers, Lanier Ford Tax Developments 2012, July 2012 (continuing professional education for certified public accountants).

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • Alabama Bar Association
  • Huntsville-Madison County Bar Association


  • J.D., summa cum laude, 2006, Syracuse University College of Law, Syracuse, NY
    Order of the Coif
    Lead Articles Editor, Syracuse Law Review
    Moot Court Honor Society
    Justinian Honor Society
    Best Brief, Mackenzie-Lewis Appellate Advocacy Competition
  • B.A., cum laude, 2003, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
    University of Alabama “Million Dollar” Band
    Phi Alpha Delta
    Sigma Tau Delta
    Pi Sigma Alpha

Bar Admissions

Alabama, 2006

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts
    Northern District of Alabama
    Middle District of Alabama
    Southern District of Alabama
  • All Alabama State Courts

Community Involvement

  • Member, Board of Directors, Mental Health Association of Madison County
  • Member, Board of Directors, Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Alabama, 2009

Other Experience

  • Law Clerk for Judge Lynwood Smith, United States District Court for Northern District of Alabama, 2006-2008.
  • In 2014, appointed as a special assistant district attorney for Madison County to represent the county and state in tax appeals.
  • City Attorney, Moulton, AL, 2017-2018.
  • Special City Attorney, Sheffield, AL, 2018.
  • Faculty Advisor, Alabama Property and Casualty Adjusters Association, 2019.
  • Adjunct Professor of Employment Law, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 2019.
  • Moot Court Judge, Fingerprint Examiner Training Program, Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC), Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntsville, AL, 2019.

News Related to This Attorney

Sixteen Lanier Ford attorneys listed as 2021 Best Lawyers
Bill Burgess and Amanda Canupp join the firm
Five Lanier Ford attorneys named Super Lawyers for 2019
2020 Best Lawyers in America includes 13 Lanier Ford attorneys
David Canupp speaks at seminar about legal issues facing city and county governments
Eleven Lanier Ford lawyers in 2019 edition of Best Lawyers
Five lawyers named Super Lawyers for 2018
George Royer and David Canupp provide CLE about legal issues facing city and county governments
David Canupp talks about waking up from nightmare of implementing new overtime rules
David Canupp publishes article about coping with new overtime rules
ADA lawsuit abuse may soon end
Firm conducts continuing professional education for CPAs
David Canupp quoted in article about new overtime rules
Results of Gurley quarry suit recognized by Defense Research Institute
Gurley wins another round in the quarry case
Firm attorneys participate in employment law seminar
David Canupp speaks about what makes a great place to work
David Canupp speaks about the ADA
Unemployment compensation law amended during last session of legislature
Alabama Lawyer publishes article about regulatory takings
David Canupp makes top-40-under-40 list of litigation lawyers
David Canupp provides CLE about electronic discovery
David Canupp speaks at SHRM meeting
David Canupp provides CLE about accessibility in government buildings
David Canupp quoted in article about BYOD polices
Gurley wins third appeal in quarry case
David Canupp recieves Amicus Service Award
David Canupp presents at seminar on employment law
Article about immigration and the law
David Canupp submits amici curiae brief to U.S. Supreme Court
Article published about fee shifting in federal court cases


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