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David J. Canupp


Mr. Canupp is a shareholder in the firm and an adjunct professor of employment law at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  Mr. Canupp’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation, with an emphasis on litigation in federal court, both at the trial and appellate levels. Among other areas of practice, Mr. Canupp frequently is engaged on issues of constitutional law; voting rights, civil rights, and police liability claims; and employment litigation. A former federal law clerk, he has been recognized repeatedly by the Best Lawyers in America,, Martindale-Hubbell, and the International Municipal Lawyers Association for his accomplishments in the foregoing fields. 

Mr. Canupp’s clientele is broad. He is panel counsel for numerous large insurance carriers. He has repeatedly represented Fortune 500 companies in disputes ranging from counterfeiting litigation to land-use litigation. He has particular experience representing governmental entities within the State of Alabama. He has represented Alabama municipalities from Huntsville to Orange Beach, from Opelika to Jasper, and from Fort Payne to Florence. He also represents government contractors, small businesses, and individuals. Each client captures Mr. Canupp’s attention, and each case presents a new opportunity for him to demonstrate his commitment and passion for vindicating the client’s position in a court of law.

At the trial level, Mr. Canupp has recently tried three law enforcement liability and two serious personal injury cases before a jury and has won defense verdicts in all five. He has likewise successfully obtained temporary and preliminary injunctive relief for clients on emergency issues in multiple cases. On the appellate level, he has repeatedly argued cases before the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Alabama Supreme Court, and has been tapped to serve on an appellate “rapid response team” for certain critical cases designated by a major insurance carrier.  As just one example, Mr. Canupp was retained by an insurance carrier 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. 

Mr. Canupp recognizes that out-of-court solutions are often in the client’s best interest as well. Within the past several years, he secured a major settlement of an insurance dispute in favor of his client, a public entity. Acting on behalf of a high-level government employee who was terminated, he recently secured a settlement of an employment dispute that may be one of the largest in Alabama history.

Outside of the litigation context, Mr. Canupp provides guidance to governments in compliance with the First Amendment and collecting unpaid taxes. He assists employers in sexual harassment investigations, developing compliant employee handbooks, analyzing the proper classification of employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 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).

Mr. Canupp also contributes to Lanier Ford’s Third-Shift Employment Law Blog.

Honors and Awards

DJC     DJCbadge

  • Mr. Canupp has been named a Fellow of the Alabama Law Foundation. Only one percent of the Alabama State Bar membership can be elected to the Fellows program, which honors lawyers who have been members of the Bar for at least 10 years and have demonstrated outstanding commitment to their profession and their community.
  • Selected by the students and faculty of the University of Alabama Huntsville’s College of Business to receive the award for the most Outstanding Part Time Professor for 2021-2022.
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America since 2019, Mr. Canupp is listed in the areas of employment law (representing management) and appellate practice. For 2023, Best Lawyers honored Mr. Canupp by naming him Lawyer of the Year for Huntsville in the area of Appellate Litigation. 
  • Selected as a Super Lawyer for 2022 and 2023 and as a Rising Star for 2018, 2019, and 2020, in the areas of employment litigation, state/local/municipal government law, and civil rights.
  • 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

City of Orange Beach v. Lamar Companies, No. SC-2023-0657, ___ So.3d ___, 2024 WL 2229839 (Ala. May 17, 2024).

Ex parte City of Huntsville, ___ So.3d ___, 2024 WL 1124231 (Ala. Mar. 15, 2024).

City of Huntsville v. Fearn, __ So.3d __, 2024 WL 1223182 (Ala. Crim. App. Mar. 22, 2024).

Baker v. City of Madison, _ F4th _, 2023 WL 3220975 (11th Cir. May 3, 2023).

Boyette v. Adams, No. 22-10288, 2022 WL 7296567 (11th Cir. Oct. 13, 2022).

Kirby Ingram v. Louis Kubik, et al. , No. 20-11310, 2022 30 F.4th 1241 (11th Cir. Apr. 7, 2022).

Sanchez v. Management Enterprise Development & Services, Inc., No. 2:19-CV-277 (M.D. Ala. March 31, 2022).

Junkins v. De Jong, 2022 WL 757951 (N.D. Ala. March 11, 2022).

Baker v. City of Madison, 2022 WL 390869 (N.D. Ala. February 8, 2022).

Lacy v. City of Huntsville, 2022 WL 303385 (11th Cir. Feb. 2, 2022).

City of Cullman v. Cullman Electric Cooperative, 2022 WL 36885 (N.D. Ala. Jan 4, 2022).

Boyette v. Adams, 2021 WL 6754285 (N.D. Ala. Dec. 28, 2021).

Cullman Electric Cooperative v. City of Cullman, 2021 WL 5989091 (N.D. Ala. Dec. 12, 2021).

Carthen v. City of Huntsville, No. 5:20-CV-1812 (N.D. Ala. Dec. 17, 2021).

New South Media Group, L.L.C., v. City of Huntsville, 2021 WL 5822133 (N.D. Ala. Oct. 1, 2021).

Garcia v. Madison County Sheriff’s Office, No. 20-13673, 2021 WL 3238813 (11th Cir. July 30, 2021).

Henderson v. McMurray and City of Huntsville, 987 F.3d 997 (11th Cir. 2021).

Patel v. City of Madison, 959 F.3d 1330 (11th Cir. 2020). 

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

Smith v. Morgan, 473 F.Supp. 3d 1266 (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).

Doe v. Stoneridge Homes, Inc., 2019 WL 1620363 (N.D. Ala. April 16, 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).

Prescott v. Wolff, 2019 WL 3068453 (S.D. Ala. July 12, 2019).

Anaya v. City of Fort Payne, 2018 WL 4510500 (N.D. Ala. Sept. 9, 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).

Cook v. The Orthopaedic Center, P.C., 2014 WL 12819568 (N.D. Ala. Nov. 14, 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:

  • Pleading Issues in Municipal Court Prosecutions, Alabama League of Municipalities Fall Municipal Law Conference, Gulf Shores, Alabama, Nov. 4, 2023.
  • Sign Regulations After City of Austin v. Reagan National Advertising, Alabama League of Municipalities Fall Municipal Law Conference, September 24, 2022.
  • Employer Response to the COVID-19 Crisis, CLE Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Law, April 1, 2020.
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Legal Services of Alabama, March 27, 2020.
  • Federal Abstention Doctrines, Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation, March 25, 2020.
  • Employment Law Update, Legal Issues Facing City and County Governments Seminar, CLE Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Law, May 11, 2019.
  • Employment Law Update for City and County Governments, City and County Government Seminar, CLE Alabama, May 1, 2018.
  • Public Employment Issues in Alabama Courts, Annual Meeting of Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, Orange Beach, Alabama, June 21-24, 2017.
  • Employment Law Update for City and County Governments, City and County Government Seminar, CLE Alabama, May 6, 2017.
  • ADA Accessibility Issues in Government Buildings, City and County Government Seminar, CLE Alabama, April 26, 2014.
  • Municipal Control Over City Courts and Consequences of Privatization of Municipal Services, Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation (AMIC) Defense Panel Roundtable CLE, October 2013.
  • Immigration Law Compliance: Discrimination, E-Verify, I-9 Audits, and the Impact of the New Alabama Immigration Bill, Sterling Education Services, February 2012 and August 2013.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act Update, Last-Chance Seminar, Huntsville-Madison County Bar Association, December 2008.


  • The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the PUMP Act, Greater Huntsville Chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, April 18, 2024
  • A History of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, Sons of the American Revolution, Huntsville, Alabama, January 8, 2024
  • Vaccine Mandate:  New Discussion on OSHA and CMS Rules, Zoom conference sponsored by the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce, November 5, 2021.  Download slides.
  • The First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause: Changes in Focus from the Collective to the Individual, Maple Hill Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Huntsville, Alabama, September 12, 2021.
  • Tales from an Employment Lawyer:  Scary Employment Law Situations, North Alabama Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (NASHRM), October 29, 2020.Tales from an Employment Lawyer:  Scary Employment Law Situations, North Alabama Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (NASHRM), October 28, 2020.
  • 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

Other Experience

  • Member, Board of Trustees, Eleventh Circuit Historical Society, 2021-present.
  • Selected by the district judges of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama to serve on the U.S. Magistrate Judge Selection Committee, 2020-21.
  • Law Clerk for Judge Lynwood Smith, U.S. District Court for the 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-present.
  • 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

Seventeen Lanier Ford attorneys listed as 2024 Best Lawyers
Seventeen Lanier Ford attorneys listed as 2023 Best Lawyers
Best Lawyers names two Lanier Ford attorneys as 2023 Lawyers of the Year
Sixteen Lanier Ford attorneys listed as 2022 Best Lawyers
David Canupp appointed to committee of Defense Lawyers Association
Four lawyers named Super Lawyers for 2020
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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